MOSCOW — Over 5,000 bystanders and passengers have been killed in US police high-speed car chases since 1979, with tens of thousands more injured, a recent USA TODAY study revealed.
According to the report, almost 30 percent of all police pursuits, usually for minor traffic violations or misdemeanors, result in crashes, often injuring or killing people nearby.
The four-month long investigation found that some 50 percent killed in police chases from 1979 through 2013 were not the suspects being pursued, but either bystanders or passengers in the car.
In total, the US police chases claimed the lives of over 11,500 people during the period of review, which was the latest data available by the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In 1990, the US Justice Department urged police departments to adopt policies specifying when officers can and cannot chase drivers.
However, the majority of police departments violate pursuit rules making on-the-spot judgements to chase cars no matter how insignificant crimes are.
A woman in Clayton County, Georgia is facing charges after a police officer shot and killed her five-month-old puppy, who witnesses say was not a threat to him. The officer, who killed the dog in the presence of the woman’s children, has a history of aggressive misconduct and was suspended for his behavior once before.
Claudette Terry told WSB-TV Atlanta that she was in the process of moving into a new home in May when two police officers stopped to “check on” a man sitting in her driveway.
“My son opened the door [and] the dog ran out and kind of stood by me where the other officers were. He didn’t bark, growl or anything.”
She told the officers the man was a friend who was helping her move, but as she discussed the issue with them, Officer Water Dennard approached them to join the conversation—and kill her dog.
“He just shot the dog and stood there with no remorse, no regrets in front of her and her kids,” said Aijohli King, a neighbor who witnessed the shooting from her home across the street.
Dennard claimed in his incident report that the dog, named 8-Ball, lunged at him, but another witness account contradicts his version of events.
“He just took a step back and he just shot at the dog,” Brandon Smarr said. “And then he started laughing afterward.”
Dennard added literal insult to injury by firing another bullet into the wounded animal. “The dog was shaking on the ground,” Terry said. “And he walked up to the dog and shot it a second time. He walked closer and shot it a second time.”
The family is devastated by the loss of their dog, who was described as “friendly, according to friends, and well-loved, especially by Terry’s daughter.”
“Puppycide,” or police killings of dogs, is routinely covered in the news. The stories often follow a narrative similar to Terry’s, where an officer shoots a dog, claims it lunged at him, and is absolved of wrongdoing. Witnesses often contradict the officers’ accounts, but only in egregious cases—such as the Texas officer who made kiss noises at a friendly pit bull to lure it over and subsequently shoot it—are officers punished for their sadistic tendencies.
Though the Clayton County incident happened in May, Terry is now facing charges for failing to have her dog on a leash or show rabies paperwork.
The Clayton County police spokesperson for the Office of Professional Standards said it was conducting an internal investigation and could not comment on the case at this time. Dennard’s record shows multiple use of force complaints, including a suspension for tasing an individual in the neck.
Wichita, KS — A deputy has been suspended after he was captured on video, in a sickening display of authoritarianism. Deputy Vance Williams is now apologizing to the community after this video was posted to YouTube.
According to KSN news, the deputy was called out to the town of Harper to investigate a dispute over property, between several people.
Jeff Jacobs, who recorded the video, simply tried to ask Williams a question, when Williams completely blew a fuse. Upon being asked a question the deputy begins a full on assault.
“I don’t need anything from you. This is not my f**king jurisdiction. You understand that,” said Williams.
Jacobs responds, “No, I don’t. I don’t have a clue. I don’t know what is going on.”
At this point, the public servant begins flexing his “authoritie” and demands Jacobs give him his ID. He then tells him to take off his sunglasses, his hat, and demands he sit down.
“Say something else to me, and we will see where this goes. Open your f**king mouth and say something else. This is not my, take your f**king sunglasses off now. Hat off. Give me your identification,” said Williams.
“You want to spend your night in the f**king poke (jail) because you can’t shut your f**king mouth. Walk! Enjoy your walk,” barks this tyrant cop.
Both Jacobs and Williams say that this video does not show the entire picture, however, Williams admits that Jacobs never antagonized him.
“All I did was ask him a simple question. I expected an answer, or a ‘hey man, it’s really none of your business,’” said Jacobs.
The department is standing by their officer in regards to his mistreatment of Jacobs, but they are upset about Williams’ choice of words.
“I believe the whole story wasn’t aired for everybody to see,” said Sheriff Tracy Chance. “As far as the language goes, yeah I don’t agree with it and I’ve dealt with that.”
Williams also issued the following canned apology for his actions.
“I unfortunately used language that I should never have used,” said Deputy Williams. “I apologize to our community, to our county, commissioners, and to our sheriff. He would never condone that behavior.”
Had this incident not been captured on video, you can rest assured that the apology and the suspension, would have never existed. This is why people are not happy with police in America today.
Cincinnati, Ohio — After spending one day in jail, University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing has already been released from custody on bail following his indictment for the murder of Samuel DuBose. Meanwhile, two UC Cincinnati police officers have now been placed on leave in the fallout of the fatal shooting of Sam DuBose by officer Ray Tensing.
Tensing was indicted for murder by a grand jury on Wednesday and officers Phillip Kidd and David Lindenschmidt testified that “[t]hey didn’t see anything,” said Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters.
At the time of the incident, Tensing had claimed he shot DuBose after a scuffle led to him being dragged down the street by DuBose’s car. Tensing’s body cam footage—released to the public on the same day charges were announced—proved that story was fabricated. Now the video from Kidd’s body cam has also been released, and shows him arriving on scene and proceeding to corroborate Tensing’s story—the same scenario repeated in the official police report of the incident.
Despite video evidence to the contrary, Tensing can be heard in Kidd’s body cam footage explaining how he’d been dragged, to which Kidd says, “Yeah, I saw that.” When Tensing is overheard explaining the same story to yet another officer on the scene, Kidd says, “Don’t say anything.”
In the official incident report, Officer Eric Weibel wrote: “Officer Kidd told me that he witnessed the Honda Accord drag Officer Tensing.”
A stunning discovery found in Officers Kidd and Weibel’s shared history, is the death of a mental health patient in 2010 at University Hospital, as revealed by The Guardian. Kelly Brinson was suffering a psychotic episode and had to be placed in an isolation room, where he was repeatedly tasered by seven UC police officers. Brinson died three days later after succumbing to respiratory and cardiac arrest.
Brinson’s family later filed suit, and all seven officers, according to court documents, are accused of excessive force and that they “acted with deliberate indifference to the serious medical and security needs of Mr. Brinson.” And further, that before being restrained, Brinson “repeatedly yelled that slavery was over and he repeatedly pleaded not to be shackled and not to be treated like a slave.”
In an interview with The Guardian, Brinson’s brother, Derek, said that if those officers had been properly disciplined back in 2010, DuBose might still be alive. Brinson said the officers were “supposed to be fired […] but what happened was because we had an out-of-court settlement, they had immunity and they couldn’t be prosecuted. Everybody . . . associated with this case was supposed to be terminated,” he said, “and they didn’t — they didn’t terminate them.”
Legal experts feel Kidd potentially faces charges of giving a false statement. “I would expect that to be forthcoming,” said Bowling Green State University criminologist Philip Stinson, as reported in Cincinnati.com. “It was a false statement. The video evidence doesn’t support it. There seems to be the elements of a crime there.” (Watch the Officer Phillip Kidd body cam footage from Samuel DuBose shooting.)
Despite the charges of murder, Tensing’s body cam footage has been called into question. “It is our belief that he was not dragged,” explained Deters. “If you slow down this tape, you see what happened. It takes a very short period of time from when the car starts slowly rolling that the gun is out and he’s shot in the head.”
At the arraignment before a Hamilton County Common Pleas Court on Thursday morning, Tensing pled not guilty to charges of murder. His bond has been set at $1 million. While Stew Mathews, the attorney representing Tensing, maintains the former officer, “was in fear of his life at the time this happened,” Deters saw something entirely different in this shooting—describing the incident as “the most asinine act I’ve ever seen a police officer make. It was unwarranted.”
Despite the clear evidence in the video from the shooting showing wrongdoing, a segment of the public has seemingly come to Tensing’s defense as funds are quickly mounting to pay his legal fees. Mathews said, according to WCPO, “I think people feel like he’s getting railroaded here in Cincinnati. You’d have to be blind not to see that.”
Watch the full length Officer Ray Tensing body cam footage from Samuel DuBose shooting below:
There are now questions surrounding Tensing’s qualifications to have been a police officer in the first place. As Cincinnati.com reported, “The Ohio State Highway Patrol hired [him] nearly two years ago, but he quit after one day on the job. Tensing started the patrol’s 26-week academy Sept. 18, 2013, and left the following day citing that he ‘couldn’t adapt to the training environment.’”
The Grand Jury, both police departments, the Prosecutor, and much of the general public must, then, be blind. Video evidence in this fatal shooting is clear. Continuing to argue over a flagrantly unjustified shooting is only bringing absurdity to new levels. The Anti-Media will continue to update as new information comes to light in this tragic case.
Hot Springs, Ark — On Monday, we reported on the tragic case of 18-month-old Thomas Naramore, who died after being left in a hot vehicle for four hours. The father, Wade Naramore, is a Garland County circuit court judge and has not been arrested despite the fact that he admitted to leaving his son in the car.
The lack of an arrest, coupled with the fact that other people have been immediately arrested in similar situations, raises suspicions that Naramore is being treated favorably because of his status as a judge.
In another twist to this story, Naramore is the same judge who presided over a child endangerment case in January that gained widespread attention. Seven children were taken from Hal and Michelle Stanley because the parents possessed a legal, popular health supplement called Miracle Mineral Solution. Judge Naramore ruled that the Department of Human Services should keep the kids in custody, based on other allegations of abuse and neglect.
This is hard to believe after hearing the positive comments from neighbors. It could be that the Stanleys’ “off the grid” lifestyle and independence from government has something to do with their persecution.
Apparently the allegations have not stuck, as the Stanley family has regained custody of their youngest children in May, while the older three are allowed home on a part-time basis. It’s difficult to know exactly why the courts do what they do, since child welfare proceedings are surrounded by strict confidentiality laws.
It is sad irony that the judge ruling in a dubious case of child endangerment would put his own child in a far more severe state of endangerment, leading to the worst possible outcome.
Far too often, the state shatters lives by taking children away from their parents for no valid reason, putting them in the hands of state social services that can result in a far worse situation for the kids. There have been numerous instances of abuse while under the “care” of Child Protective Services.
While the State does not hesitate to interfere in the personal lives of so many citizens, it will take their time investigating Thomas Naramore’s death, assuring us that they “search for the truth with the ultimate goal of determining the facts, regardless of who might be a suspect in a given case.”
The Hot Springs Police Department will “continue withholding investigative material… at the specific direction of Mr. Scott Ellington, the special prosecutor recently assigned the case.”
The case could drag on for weeks before any charges are made, as investigators await the results of toxicology tests. The state’s Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission will also delay its probe until the criminal investigation is complete.
In the last several years, stories of cannabis oil helping epileptic children have populated the news cycle. Around the world, CBD (cannabidiol) treatments are gaining popularity due to their ability to rapidly alleviate seizures without making children “high.” Though these treatments are increasingly available in American states with legalized recreational and medical cannabis, they are not always freely available. Facing medical restrictions, one mother in Canada has vowed to treat her child—even if her doctor refuses to renew their prescription.
The Wilkinson family, from just outside Calgary, Alberta, resorted to CBD oil to treat their nine-year-old daughter. Mia suffered from crippling seizures due to Ohtahara syndrome. Her mother, Sarah Wilkinson, explained that Mia “… sometimes had seizures that would last up to 23 hours and she would have to be put into a medically-induced coma.”
The dozens of pills she was prescribed failed to inhibit seizures and decreased her quality of life, so the Wilkinson’s were immensely relieved when a neurologist approved cannabis oil to treat Mia—and it worked. As Anti-Media reported,
“They said her EEG was comparable to someone with a benign form of epilepsy ─ that’s never happened before,” Sarah said. Miraculously, she was ultimately seizure free for 18 months, weaned off of 30-40 pharmaceuticals a day. Mia has also learned to walk and at nine years old, said her first words like “yes,” “no” and “Mama.” “And ‘Mama’ is all I hear anymore. I bawled when I first heard it,” Sara recounted.
The family was devastated to learn that while medical marijuana is legal in Canada, their doctor refused to renew Mia’s prescription because of resistance from Alberta Children’s Hospital. The hospital which initially allowed Mia to ingest cannabis oil. As the doctor explained in an email to the Sarah,
“Due to the strict nature of the policy implemented here at Children’s, I am not allowed to fill the forms for renewal of medical marijuana.”
Though Health Canada, the country’s nationalized healthcare system, does not acknowledge cannabis as a legitimate treatment, the country’s court system ruled in June that people may use it to treat medical conditions. However, hospitals write their own policies regarding use, and Alberta Children’s changed its stance, leaving doctors to either buck policy or fall in line.
Sarah Wilkinson with her daughter Mia
Wilkinson’s experience is not an isolated case. Canadian mother Kendra Myhre was forced to seek alternative treatments for her child’s Dravet syndrome—which causes severe seizures—when traditional methods failed to ease his symptoms. “We didn’t want to see him suffer and put him in a casket before the age of five,” Myhre said, explaining her decision to seek cannabis treatment. “We wanted to give him the best possible life for as long as he’s got, which probably won’t be long.” She recently found a doctor willing to write a prescription.
Even as cannabis laws evolve in the United States, innumerable families risk legal repercussions for treating their children. In Kansas, cannabis activist Shona Banda faces 30 years in prison for treating her Crohn’s disease with cannabis oil and sharing her method of treatment with others. Her son was taken from her, and her home raided after he touted cannabis oil’s benefits for his mother at an anti-drug presentation.
Convoluted regulations also make treatment difficult. One Des Moines mother is allowed to possess oil to treat her epileptic son but must take him outside to the parking lot of his care facility twice a day to administer treatment. A New Jersey family is suing their school district for their daughter’s right to administer cannabis treatment for epilepsy and autism at school.
Other families are picking up and moving to states that do allow medical cannabis use. This is the case with Hillary Rayburn, who moved from Oklahoma to Colorado to obtain cannabis for her child’s epilepsy.
Though individuals and families still face heart-wrenching restrictions, the trend toward cannabis legalization has already begun. Parents who engage in civil disobedience by treating their children not only help change the perception of the treatment but help chip away at the decaying infrastructure of prohibition. By standing up to unjust and inhumane laws in the face of increasing medical research on cannabis, parents are helping to change the landscape of the Drug War and medicine. Kids are hopping on the cannabis civil disobedience train, as well. Speaking at a recent symposium for medical cannabis research, 15-year-old Coltyn Turner explained that he’d “rather be illegally alive [by using cannabis oil] than legally dead.”
Perhaps the most touching aspect of the fight for legalized medical cannabis is the persistence of parents who refuse to let their children suffer. “You’d be amazed at the networking parents can do when they have children with such a fatal disability, and the ends they are willing to go to for their children,” Myhre told Vice News.
As for Wilkinson, she, too, will continue to treat her child in spite of her lack of approval to do so. “She’s my daughter and I’m not willing to see her die because some people are uncomfortable with Cannabis as therapy,” she said.
In an effort to prevent potential terrorists from moving within the United States, the House of Representatives passed a bill which allows the US government to revoke the passport of anyone it deems a threat. The move has drawn heavy criticism from liberty advocates who say the bill violates the Constitution.
“The Benedict Arnold traitors who have turned against America and joined the ranks of the terrorist army ISIS should lose all rights afforded to our citizens,” said Republican Representative Ted Poe of Texas in a statement.
“These people are not returning to America to open coffee shops, they are coming back to kill. We must stop them from coming back at all.”
To that end, Poe sponsored a bill known as the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) Passport Revocation Act. After only 15 minutes of debate, the bill was approved by the House of Representatives last Tuesday, and is currently being considered by the Senate.
Under the act, “the Secretary of State may refuse to issue a passport to any individual whom the Secretary has determined has aided, assisted, abetted, or otherwise helped an organization the Secretary has designated as a foreign terrorist organization.”
It also allows the Secretary to “revoke a passport previously issued to any individual” based on the same criteria.
In essence, the bill is a stricter version of laws already on the books. While current US law allows passports to be revoked for any number of national security reasons, those decisions can always be appealed by the individual.
The new bill approved by the House does away with that appeals process.
“The bill provides no ability for someone wrongly denied a passport to challenge the Secretary of State’s findings that they helped a terrorist,” said Norm Singleton, vice president for policy at the Campaign for Liberty, according to the New American.
“So much for due process and reigning in executive power.”
Other critics have expressed surprise that the bill’s passing received such little attention in the mainstream media.
“The US Secretary of State can revoke my passport without meeting any burden of proof that I am actually a terrorist or even that I have ever supported terrorism. He can keep his evidence against me totally secret and will never be required to justify his actions against me,” writes Daniel McAdams for the Ron Paul Institute.
“And this is considered ‘uncontroversial’ in the United States?”
Others have noted how unnecessary the legislation seems, given the technologies already used to track individuals’ movement.
“Given that this technology exists, there is no need for the US government to add powers that could end up stripping passports from citizens unnecessarily,” Patrick Weil wrote for Reuters. “To do otherwise would be to ignore serious constitutional problems.”
“Available technology allows the government to deny or forbid the possibility of dangerous persons crossing borders while easily enforcing the basic right – for us all – to bear a form of internationally recognized identification when abroad,” he added.
Like a stopped clock, even rabid neoconservatives can be right once in a while. A good case in point is a recent open letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, signed by such neocon luminaries as Robert Kagan, Elliott Abrams, Reuel Gerecht and Ellen Bork, calling on the Obama administration to “press the Government of Egypt to end its campaign of indiscriminate repression in order to advance a more effective strategy for countering violent extremism.”
The Obama administration, which helped blow up Libya and Syria in the name of human rights, has resumed arms shipments to the military regime of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, which seized power from a democratically elected government in 2013. Washington’s double standard not only undercuts U.S. credibility internationally, it also jeopardizes important security interests in the region.
As the letter from the “Bipartisan Working Group on Egypt” rightly warns, “State violence — several thousand killed during street demonstrations, tens of thousands of political prisoners, hundreds of documented cases of torture or forced disappearance, sexual assault of detainees or family members, reported collective punishment of Sinai communities possibly with weapons provided through U.S. military aid — is creating more incentives for Egyptians to join militant groups.”
The letter adds, “By carrying out a campaign of repression and human rights abuses that is unprecedented in the country’s modern history, and by closing off all avenues of peaceful expression of dissent through politics, civil society, or media, Al-Sisi is stoking the very fires he says he wants to extinguish.”
Just three days before the group sent its letter to Kerry, Human Rights Watch reported that Egyptian security forces, operating with “nearly absolute impunity,” have killed hundreds of dissidents in recent months, detained more than 40,000 suspects, and “forcibly disappeared” dozens of people. University students in particular have been targeted for mystery disappearances and killings.
The government has also jailed some 18 journalists for publishing reports that conflict with government-approved messages. Its massacre of roughly 1,000 protesters in Cairo in August 2013 ranks as one of the worst single-day atrocities in the region.
Government repression is growing more, not less, severe with time. President al-Sisi recently issued an executive decree giving himself the power to fire officials at independent state institutions. The government is also fast-tracking legislation to further crack down on press freedoms, including, for example, heavy fines for contradicting official statements on terrorist attacks. Human rights organizations have termed it “a blatant violation of the constitution.” The executive director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said the proposed law “turns journalists into mere conveyors of the state’s official data.”
Yet the tepid response of Kerry’s State Department is to endorse Egypt’s “fight against terrorism,” while expressing the “hope” that the final version of Egypt’s new counterterrorism law will respect “individual rights.” The New York Times rightly called the statement “laughable.”
It is, however, fully in keeping with the Obama administration’s “see-no-evil” policy toward Egypt of late. During a visit to Cairo last year, Kerry praised al-Sisi for expressing “‘a very strong sense of his commitment to human rights.” Then, in December, the United States delivered 10 Apache helicopters to support Egypt’s counterterrorism efforts. Finally, this March, the Obama administration lifted its partial freeze on military aid to Egypt, enacted in October 2013 to encourage movement toward free and fair elections in the country.
When Egypt started buying arms from France and negotiating with Russia, the administration suddenly decided that resuming its full $1.3 billion in annual military aid was “in U.S. national security interests.” That finding came despite the administration’s admission this June that “the overall trajectory for rights and democracy has been negative,” including “arbitrary and unlawful killings” and repressive new laws and executive initiatives that “undermine prospects for democratic governance.”
One factor in the administration’s calculus is its concern over rising numbers of Islamist terrorist attacks within Egypt. They include numerous guerrilla operations by the Egyptian affiliate of the Islamic State (Wilayat Sinai) and, more worrisome, the devastating car bombing of the Italian consulate in downtown Cairo this month. A campaign of urban terrorism could devastate the country’s economy and turn Egypt into a much greater crisis than Syria.
But as numerous human rights activists warn, Egyptian repression has become the most effective recruiting tool for anti-government extremists. The Muslim Brotherhood’s longstanding doctrine of peaceful political change has lost credibility with young activists, who refuse to submit passively to arrest and torture at the hands of state security forces.
Reflecting pressure from within its ranks, the powerful Islamic movement declared in late January, “We are at the beginning of a new phase where we summon our strength and evoke the meaning of jihad. . . [We] prepare ourselves, our wives, our sons and daughters, and whoever follows our path for relentless jihad where we ask for martyrdom.”
As one student of Egypt’s Islamists notes, “the matter has yet to be settled. Given the Brotherhood’s long history of non-violence, many members don’t find it easy to accept it now even in response to the Sisi regime’s clampdown. But the fear of losing ground is occupying the minds of Brotherhood leaders. The way many Brotherhood leaders are framing this is that if there is a war between society and the state, and if the society has taken a stance, the Muslim Brotherhood should not hinder society’s fight for freedom.”
Last year, Robert Kagan became one of the first neoconservatives to break with conservatives in Congress, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Netanyahu regime to warn about prospects for “a new Egyptian jihadist movement brought into existence by the military’s crackdown.”
“To Israel, which has never supported democracy anywhere in the Middle East except Israel, the presence of a brutal military dictatorship bent on the extermination of Islamism is not only tolerable but desirable,” Kagan wrote. But “In Egypt, U.S. interests and Israel’s perceptions of its own interests sharply diverge. If one believes that any hope for moderation in the Arab world requires finding moderate voices not only among secularists but also among Islamists, America’s current strategy in Egypt is producing the opposite result.”
Kagan’s pithy observations remain as true today as they were then. The advice that he and others in the Working Group on Egypt sent to Kerry last week—urging him to stop whitewashing Egypt’s regime and instead to pressure it to meet international human rights commitments and promote national reconciliation —is not simply humane but the wisest possible strategic counsel.
A public inquiry into undercover policing is at risk of becoming an “establishment whitewash” if it does not include scrutiny of the surveillance of trade unionists, activists have warned.
In its current form the inquiry overlooks evidence of collaborative spying by big business and the police, Blacklist Support Group secretary Dave Smith told the Morning Star on Tuesday.
Smith’s concerns echo those of Britain’s largest union Unite, which called for an inquiry into alleged links between police and the “blacklisting” scandal in the construction industry that was exposed in 2009.
The inquiry into undercover policing was launched by Chairman Lord Justice Pitchford on Tuesday, four months after Home Secretary Theresa May announced the investigation.
Opening proceedings in London, Pitchford said the inquiry will be “the first time that undercover policing has been exposed to the rigor of public examination.”
However critics argue the terms of the investigation overlook corporate espionage.
Speaking to the Morning Star, Smith said: “Neither Theresa May nor Lord Justice Pitchford has specifically referred to trade unions, despite the fact there is documentary evidence that they were spied on using covert surveillance tactics.”
“The terms of reference state that the inquiry will only cover spying by the police. But if this is to be a genuine, independent investigation, it needs to look at evidence of collaboration between big business and the police.
“Corporate spying is endemic and, if it is not properly investigated, this will just turn into another establishment whitewash,” he added.
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail called for a probe into allegations police handed information about workers’ trade union activities to construction companies, who then added them to a blacklist database.
The existence of a blacklist was exposed by a raid on a firm called the Consulting Association by the Information Commissioner’s Office in 2009.
Cartmail said: “We need the inquiry to probe what the undercover police involvement was in relation to links with the ‘blacklisting’ scandal in the construction industry. So far, I think we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg – and Judge Pitchford will have to dig deep.
“The reports that they infiltrated campaign groups and trade unions are true, as police officers were deployed as covert human intelligence sources.
“We need to know who authorized the infiltration of trade unions – how high up does the buck stop when it comes to accountability? And who authorized the payments to these undercover officers to pay their union dues?”
May launched the inquiry into undercover cops after an investigation into claims of human rights abuses committed by police officers unearthed “serious historical failings.”
In some cases, undercover police used the names of deceased children and established long-term sexual relationships with their targets.
Lawyers investigating the allegations for the Home Office say they have discovered more than 80 possible legal breaches relating to undercover policing.
The Ohio police officer accused of killing an unarmed black man during a traffic stop has been indicted by a grand jury and charged with murder, the county prosecutor said. A warrant has been issued for the arrest University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing.
Tensing, who is a white member of the University of Cincinnati Police Department (UCPD), pulled over Samuel Dubose, a 43-year-old African-American man, on Sunday night because the officer said the driver was missing the front license plate on his car. After a brief struggle between the two men, Dubose’s car rolled forward, knocking Tensing to the ground. Tensing then shot Dubose in the head.
“I have been doing this for 30 years, and this is the most asinine act by a police officer I have ever seen,” Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said during a press conference announcing the murder charge against Tensing. “This is without question a murder.”
Deters said that his office has reviewed hundreds of police shootings, and that Tensing “should never have been a police officer.”
“It is our belief that he was not dragged. If you slow down this tape you see what happens, it is a very slow period of time from when the car starts rolling to when a gun is out and he’s shot in the head,” Deters said.
“[Dubose] was simply, slowly rolling away,” he added.
The prosecutor said that the reason for the traffic stop was “a pretty chicken crap stop,” and that Tensing “purposely killed” Dubose.
“He wasn’t dealing with someone who was wanted for murder. He was dealing for someone who was wanted for not having a front license plate,” Deter said.
“I’m treating him like a murderer,” he added.
The dozen members of the grand jury also indicted Tensing on a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter. If he is convicted of murder, he faces 15 years to life in prison.
Police officers are out to arrest Tensing, who is expected to be booked later Wednesday.
Deters initially held back the body camera footage to show the video to Dubose’s family first, but released the footage during the press conference.
“I do think that body cameras should be mandatory for law enforcement,” family attorney Mark O’Mara said.
An attorney for Dubose’s family told reporters that there would not have been an indictment without the video.
Tensing’s lawyer, Stuart Matthews, told the Cincinnati Enquirer on Tuesday that his client was in fear for his life before shooting Dubose and that he thought he would be run over by the car. Tensing has been a police officer for just over four years, and joined the UCPD in April 2014.
“He’s not doing well. He feels terrible about it. He didn’t become a police officer to go out and shoot anyone,” Mathews told WCPO earlier.
Dubose had a lengthy criminal record, including over 75 traffic and drug charges in Hamilton County, the Guardian reported. However, his family said he was not a violent man, but rather the father of 13 children who was engaged to be married.
“He got stopped a lot, but he never tried to fight,” Audrey Dubose, his mother, told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
An impressive coalition has formed to oppose a new surveillance bill masquerading as cybersecurity legislation.
Privacy and civil liberties organizations, free market groups, and others from across the political spectrum are joining this week in a common chorus call: Stop CISA.
Proponents of CISA — the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act — claim the Senate bill would help prevent cyber-crimes by improving information sharing between the government and the private sector. But in reality, CISA only succeeds in expanding government surveillance and weakening privacy while making Americans less secure online. The bill as drafted would have done nothing to stop the high-profile breaches at Sony, Anthem, and, most recently, the Office of Personnel Management, which holds terabytes of sensitive information about millions of government employees.
For several years, certain elements of the business community and national security hawks in Congress have pressed for legislation like CISA. In April, the House passed a package of similar cybersecurity information sharing bills, which were opposed by the ACLU and bevy of other privacy and civil liberties groups, but were in some ways dramatically better than the bill now pending in the Senate.
CISA’s vague language and expansive definitions will give the government new ways to collect and use the personal information and communications of innocent Americans, all without a warrant or any review by an independent court or overseer. CISA would allow companies to share information with the government relating to a “cybersecurity threat,” a term defined so broadly in the bill that it could include huge swaths of emails and text messages. The handover of user information under CISA would be permitted even if otherwise prohibited by existing data privacy laws, like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. The law would also give companies broad legal protections even if they improperly share consumer data.
And, perhaps unsurprisingly, the information shared by companies would automatically be forwarded to numerous intelligence, military, and law enforcement agencies, including the NSA and FBI.
Once in the government’s hands, CISA allows for the shared information to be used in garden-variety law enforcement cases that have nothing to do with cybersecurity. For example, the government could use private emails and messages received from communications providers like Comcast, Facebook, Google, or Verizon to investigate and prosecute whistleblowers who report serious misconduct to the press. That’s a serious concern given that the Obama administration has already prosecuted more national security whistleblowers than all other administrations combined.
As an added bonus for government snoopers, CISA also includes a new exemption to the Freedom of Information Act, which will make it harder for groups like the ACLU to obtain documents from the government to determine how it is using — or misusing — the shared information. That means, for example, that it could be nearly impossible for us to find out how much private information is flowing from companies to the government or how the government is using it.
And despite CISA’s promise to open the floodgates for private information to flow to the government without any privacy protections, it fails at actually delivering better cybersecurity. As we learned with the hack at the OPM, the government is not a reliable guarantor of data security. Hackers were able to access the personal information of millions of Americans — including Social Security numbers, birthdates, and records about citizens’ finances, health, associations, and even sexual orientation—that applicants for security clearances must disclose to the government. All that additional information would make the government an even more desirable target for cybersnoops and cybercrooks.
CISA is more than just a bad solution to a serious problem. It would actually make cybersecurity worse while compromising basic democratic protections for personal privacy. The Senate must reject this surveillance bill. But if it decides to send this travesty to the president, he should veto the bill, consistent with his past threats against similarly atrocious bills.
Do your part to Stop CISA.
Privacy activists are flooding Congress with messages of opposition to the cyber surveillance bill due to be considered by the Senate, using faxes rather than emails in order to poke fun at lawmakers’ antiquated understanding of technology and privacy.
Fight for the Future, a nonprofit fighting for privacy and against government surveillance, has set up a page dubbed “Operation: Fax Big Brother,” which lets anyone generate and customize a fax protesting the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA). Each fax is then sent to all 100 Senators. The group has not said how many faxes have been sent so far.
CISA sailed through the Senate Intelligence Committee in March, with Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden being the sole dissenter. Senate is expected to take up a vote on the bill before the August 7 recess. A similar proposal, known as CISPA, was approved by the House of Representatives in 2013 but died in the Senate after public opposition compelled President Barack Obama to threaten a veto.
“Groups like Fight for the Future have sent millions of emails, and they still don’t seem to get it,” Evan Greer, the group’s campaign manager, told the Guardian. “Maybe they don’t get it because they’re stuck in 1984, and we figured we’d use some 80s technology to try to get our point across.”
According to the group, since 2012 civil liberties activists have sent hundreds of thousands of calls and tweets and over 2.6 million emails to Congress opposing overreaching cybersecurity laws. However, the fax stunt does not just have publicity value. Lawmakers often use analog technology like faxes and pagers in order to hide their digital tracks from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) inquiries, claims a Senate staffer who spoke to the Guardian.
Sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, CISA seeks to enlist the support of corporations in collecting user data in the name of cybersecurity, providing them with liability protection if they share the data with federal agencies such as the NSA. Once they have the data, federal agencies would be able to share it freely with each other. What’s more, information shared with the government by the companies will be specifically exempt from FOIA disclosures.
Gabe Rottman, a legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union, described the bill as a “new and vast surveillance authority that might as well be called Patriot Act 2.0 given how much personal information it would funnel to the NSA.”
The US Chamber of Commerce and a number of major corporations are backing the bill. In addition to Facebook and Google, Comcast and AT&T also favor CISA, as do Bank of America and Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
Proponents of CISA have cited a spree of data breaches over the past year, from corporations such as Sony and healthcare provider Anthem to government agencies including the Department of State and Office of Personnel Management (OPM), as a reason to beef up cybersecurity. Critics have countered that CISA is not doing anything to protect networks from threats, and everything to vacuum up Americans’ data.
“With all these breaches, there’s a lot of fearmongering going on in DC,” says Fight for the Future’s Greer. “They just say: ‘This is a problem – we’ve got to do something!’ And this is the something they’re going to do. It’s not just that this won’t fix things – it’ll make them worse. And it’ll give sweeping legal immunity to some of the largest companies in the world and open us all up to new forms of surveillance.”