Tag Archives | rights

Spy Agency’s Secret Plans to Foster Online “Conformity” and “Obedience” Exposed

Creative Heroes (CC BY 2.0)

Creative Heroes (CC BY 2.0)

This post was originally published on Common Dreams. See more of Jon Queally’s posts here.

With never-before-seen documents accompanied by new reporting on Monday, The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Fishman are offering a more in-depth look than ever into how a secretive unit of the UK’s GCHQ surveillance agency used a host of psychological methods and online subterfuge in order to manipulate the behavior of individuals and groups through the internet and other digital forms of communication.

According to the reporting, the latest documents, which were leaked to journalists by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden,

demonstrate how the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), a unit of the signals intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), is involved in efforts against political groups it considers “extremist,” Islamist activity in schools, the drug trade, online fraud, and financial scams.

Though its existence was secret until last year, JTRIG quickly developed a distinctive profile in the public understanding, after documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the unit had engaged in “dirty tricks” like deploying sexual “honey traps” designed to discredit targets, launching denial-of-service attacks to shut down internet chat rooms, pushing veiled propaganda onto social networks, and generally warping discourse online.

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Proposals for a Freer and More Just Society

The unnamed (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The unnamed (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In case you haven’t noticed, the world is growing increasingly unfree and unjust. Just look around you.

As the revelations by Edward Snowden prove, surveillance of citizens’ private lives by government is at an all-time Orwellian high, with cameras becoming ubiquitous on street corners, drones patrolling the skies overhead, all forms of telecommunications regularly monitored and recorded. In general, there is massive intrusion by government into personal matters that would have been repelled by America’s founders. It was precisely such intrusion that inspired the writing of the Declaration of Independence, as well as the protections against such abuses supposedly enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

In addition to being constantly and suspiciously watched by a group having legal monopoly on both the creation and enforcement of its own rules, a group who seems ever more unaccountable for their own wrongdoing, it’s now taken for granted that cops everywhere carry military-grade hardware.… Read the rest

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The Monsanto Protection Act is Back, and Worse Than Ever

Press Release via The Center for Food Safety:

Latest changes to the Pompeo “DARK” Act create an anti-democracy, anti-consumer, anti-environment mega-bill

WASHINGTON – Center for Food Safety (CFS) today expressed strong opposition to Representative Pompeo’s newly revised genetically engineered (GE) food labeling preemption bill (H.R. 1599), which now has been greatly expanded to not only prohibit all labeling of GE foods, but also to make it unlawful for states or local governments to restrict GE crops in any way. These new provisions would not only prohibit any future state and local laws, but also undemocratically nullify GE crop regulations that have existed in numerous counties across the country for over a decade. The bill would also further weaken already weak federal regulation of GE crops, while at the same time forbidding local communities from opting to protect their citizens, their farmers, and their environments.

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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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‘I Wished They Had Killed Me': Victim of CIA Says Torture Worse Than You Know

Majid Khan is pictured in this 2009 handout photograph taken at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, released on June 1, 2015. (Photo: Center for Constitutional Rights)

Majid Khan is pictured in this 2009 handout photograph taken at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, released on June 1, 2015. (Photo: Center for Constitutional Rights)

Nadia Prupis writes at Common Dreams:

A Guantanamo Bay detainee turned government witness has accused the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of using even more disturbing forms of torture and abuse during secret interrogations than were included in the U.S. Senate’s redacted report last year.

In a newly declassified account published Tuesday by Reuters, Majid Khan said that agents subjected him to waterboarding, poured ice water on his genitals, sexually assaulted him, and threatened to beat him with a hammer, baseball bats, sticks, and leather belts, among other abuses that were not detailed in the Senate report.

“Khan said his feet and lower legs were placed in tall boot-like metal cuffs that dug into his flesh and immobilized his legs. He said he felt that his legs would break if he fell forward while restrained by the cuffs,” writes Reuters investigative journalist David Rohde.

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Brutality is Our Society’s Trademark—From the Justice System to Healthcare

Protesters hold a banner that reads, "Health Care is a Human Right." (Photo: Jobs With Justice/cc/flickr)

Protesters hold a banner that reads, “Health Care is a Human Right.” (Photo: Jobs With Justice/cc/flickr)

Donna Smith writes at Common Dreams:

Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen so many examples of brutality played out in our cities — and mostly our most impoverished areas — that it isn’t difficult to see why so many people are in the streets.  Many say white people cannot truly understand the deep racial issues that target African American people and their communities, and that is no doubt true.  But that sort of thinking also keeps groups of people apart who might otherwise band together to exert powerful forces on the corruption that manifests itself in so many places in our society.

Since I advocate for transformation of our health care system, I see brutality — economic and physical — exerted on patients all the time.  Yet patients often do not speak up or gather enough support to wage even a small protest. 

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Protests Go Global as Ethiopians March Against Police Brutality in Tel Aviv

This post was originally published on Common Dreams. See more of Lauren McCauley’s posts here.

Several thousand people, mostly hailing from Israel’s large Ethiopian population, took to the streets of Tel Aviv on Sunday to protest racism and police brutality against ethnic minorities.

According to reports, marchers blocked highway traffic chanting and bearing signs which read: “A violent policeman must be put in prison” and “We demand full equal rights.”

The protest was sparked by the release this week of a video which shows an Ethiopian-Israeli man in an IDF uniform being beaten by police. Demonstrators are demanding an investigation into the attack and are calling for an end to what they say is an epidemic of brutality against Israel’s minority populations.

During a similar protest in Jerusalem on Thursday night police reportedly unleashed tear gas and stun grenades against demonstrators. As the crowd continued to swell on Sunday, the Times of Israel reported that police are threatening to use force.

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Insurance Companies Blatantly Ignore ACA’s Free Birth Control Mandate

Since the ACA's birth control requirement went into effect in August 2012, more than 48 million women no longer face cost barriers to accessing birth control, according to the National Women's Law Center. (Photo: UC Irvine/flickr/cc)

Since the ACA’s birth control requirement went into effect in August 2012, more than 48 million women no longer face cost barriers to accessing birth control, according to the National Women’s Law Center. (Photo: UC Irvine/flickr/cc)

This was originally posted on Common Dreams.

Not only are insurance companies across the country flouting the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) birth control coverage mandate, they are violating a slew of other women’s health requirements related to maternity care and more, the National Women’s Law Center charged in dual reports released this week.

“Insurance companies are breaking the law by denying women coverage to which they are entitled,” NWLC vice president for health and reproductive rights Gretchen Borchelt said in a statement. “The Affordable Care Act has made dramatic improvements in women’s health coverage, but insurers’ failure to comply with its requirements has serious consequences that affect women every day.”

In State of Birth Control Coverage: Health Plan Violations of the Affordable Care Act(pdf), NWLC looked at coverage of FDA-approved birth control methods—which the ACA says must be covered without co-payments or deductibles—and found widespread violations nationwide.… Read the rest

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Things that are not in the Constitution

rights endowed

Seems like every day there is a new story about something some politician is doing or saying that isn’t in the Constitution. Just in case you’re losing track of exactly how many things are not in the constitution, there is a list linked below. Some of the things that are listed are implied powers. Others are powers that congress adopted through the necessary and proper clause. Some of the things listed are not in the constitution and are government policies that are outright unconstitutional. Others aren’t listed because they are considered state powers. Lastly, lots of the rights listed as not in the constitution are powers protected by the 9th and 10th Amendments. I just wish that they had mentioned that the word “democracy” isn’t in the Constitution.

Have you ever heard someone say, “That’s unconstitutional!” or “That’s my constitutional right!” and wondered if they were right? You might be surprised how often people get it wrong.

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