Becomes Ministry of Truth
“…if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth.” (1984, George Orwell)
The New Scientist has the stunning story (2/28/15, “Google wants to rank websites based on facts not links,” by Hal Hodson):
“THE internet is stuffed with garbage. Anti-vaccination websites make the front page of Google, and fact-free ‘news’ stories spread like wildfire. Google has devised a fix – rank websites according to their truthfulness.”
Great idea, right?
Sure it is.
The author of the article lets the cat out of the bag right away with his comment about “anti-vaccination” websites.
These sites will obviously be shoved into obscurity by Google because they’re “garbage”… whereas “truthful” pro-vaccine sites will dominate top ranked pages on the search engine.
This is wonderful if you believe what the CDC tells you about vaccine safety and efficacy. The CDC: an agency that opens its doors every day with lies and closes them with more lies.
The New Scientist article continues:
“A Google research team is adapting [a] model to measure the trustworthiness of a [website] page, rather than its reputation across the web. Instead of counting incoming links, the [ranking] system – which is not yet live – counts the number of incorrect facts within a page. ‘A source that has few false facts is considered to be trustworthy,’ says the team…The score they compute for each page is its Knowledge-Based Trust score.”
Right. Google, researchers of truth. Assessors of trustworthiness. Who in the world could have a problem with that?
Answer: anyone with three live brain cells.
Here’s the New Scientist’s capper. It’s a beaut:
“The [truth-finding] software works by tapping into the Knowledge Vault, the vast store of facts that Google has pulled off the internet. Facts the web unanimously agrees on are considered a reasonable proxy for truth. Web pages that contain contradictory information are bumped down the rankings.”
Right. Uh-huh. So Google, along with its friends at the CIA, will engineer a new and improved, greater flood of (dis)information across the Web. And this disinfo will constitute an overwhelming majority opinion… and will become the standard for measuring truth and trustworthiness.
Think about what kinds of websites will rise like foul cream to the top of Google page rankings:
“All vaccines are marvelously safe and effective, and parents who don’t vaccinate their kids should be prosecuted for felonies.”
“GMOs are perfectly safe. ‘The science’ says so.”
“The FBI has never organized a synthetic terror event and then stung the morons it encouraged.”
“Common Core is the greatest system of education yet devised by humans.”
“People who believe conspiracies exist have mental disorders.”
In other words: (fake) consensus reality becomes reality. Which is the situation we have now, but the titanic pile of fakery will rise much, much higher.
Also, think about this: the whole purpose of authentic investigative reporting is puncturing the consensus…but you’ll have to search Google for a long time to find it.
In the field of medical fraud, an area I’ve been researching for 25 years, the conclusions of standard published studies (which are brimming with lies) will occupy page after page of top Google rankings.
Let me offer a counter-example to the Google “knowledge team.” Here is a woman who has examined, up close and personal, more medical studies in her career than the entire workforce of Google. She is Dr. Marcia Angell. For 20 years, she was an editor at The New England Journal of Medicine.
On January 15, 2009, the New York Review of Books published her stunning statement:
“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”
Angell torpedoes an entire range of medical literature, based on her hard-won experience.
But you can be sure that when it comes to “medical facts,” the Google “truth team” will ascribe absolutely no merit (ranking) to her conclusion or its implications.
You may say, “But these search engines are already slanting the truth.”
The new Google program is going to double down. It’s going to set up its own Ministry of Truth. It’s going to standardize algorithms that unerringly bring about officially favored lies.
Stories on vote fraud?
Stories contradicting the official line on mass shootings?
Stories on the US government funding terrorist groups?
Stories on the hostile planetary intentions of Globalists?
Stories on corporate criminals? Secrets of the Federal Reserve?
Stories on major media censoring scandals?
Counter-consensus stories on 9/11, the JFK assassination, the US bankers and corporations who funded both sides in WW2? All anti-establishment versions of history?
After Google launches this Ministry of Truth program, you’ll have to put on diving gear and go deep underwater to find any trace of them.
Welcome to a new day.
“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” (Opening line, 1984, Orwell)
Let’s take all this one step further. Google’s director of research is Ray Kurzweil, who many people know as the promoter of a “utopian” plan to hook the population up (through direct brain-machine interface) to a vast super-computer.
The super-computer will pass along virtually all human knowledge. Kurzweil believes such a momentous breakthrough will endow humans with a mystical level of consciousness.
Even if this technological wet dream could be realized, we can now see what “connecting to all human knowledge” means:
It means accepting all official knowledge. Being blind to counter-knowledge.
It’s time to reverse AI (Artificial Intelligence) and call it IA (Intelligent Androids).
IAs would be humans who are programmed to be androids. IAs accept truth as it delivered to them by official sources.
Google makes its contribution by promoting official sources.
And hiding other sources.
Yes, this surely seems like Nirvana.
You will be fed the Good and protected from the Evil.
Thank you, Google. When are you going to apply for non-profit status and open your Holy Church of Information?
“Today’s sermon will be delivered by the director of the CIA. It is titled, ‘Data: everything you need to know, everything you must not believe.’ Breathe deeply. Your neuronal circuits are now being tuned to our channel…”
ISIS is winning the Internet! Conventional wisdom has it that the terrorist group is brilliant at using social media to spread its message and recruit adherents. That troubles lawmakers and national security officials. Social media is a “free form of communication that you can use to plot and plan. A new way to propagandize and reach individuals… in their home,” John Carlin, assistant attorney general for national security told a cybersecurity conference last Monday, Feb. 23.
At a House terrorism subcommittee hearing last month, members wrestled with the problem of countering ISIS propaganda on social media without infringing on First Amendment rights. Representative Ted Poe (R-Texas), who chairs the committee, asked why the Department of Justice couldn’t use material support laws (which prohibit giving assistance to terrorist groups) to go after Twitter and other social-media sites that allow terrorist groups to use their services.
No one could give Poe a firm answer at the hearing, but Carlin waded into the fray on Monday while answering questions at the cybersecurity conference. He indicated that the Department of Justice could use material-support laws to go after those who spread ISIS propaganda on social media. “We have and will charge under our criminal-justice system,” he said.
While Carlin seemed ready to prosecute individuals under the theory that some sort of technical expertise is involved in retweeting and liking, Representative Poe wants the Department of Justice to go after Twitter itself. He took to the floor on Feb. 24 to speak on the issue:
Mr. Speaker, during World War II, we never would have allowed America’s foreign enemies to take out ads in The New York Times recruiting Americans to join the Nazis and go abroad and fight and kill Americans. Today is no different. Social-media companies need to do more. Private companies not only have a public responsibility, but a legal obligation to be proactive.
Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act states that it is unlawful to provide a designated foreign terrorist organization–like ISIS–with “material support or resources,” including “any property, tangible or intangible, or services.” That is about as comprehensive as you can get. You don’t need to be a law-school professor to understand this law actually applies to Twitter.
It is mind-boggling to think that those who behead and burn others alive are able to use our own companies against us to further their cause. This is nutty. But that is exactly what is occurring. As a result, there are more than 15,000 foreign fighters, many of whom have been radicalized online, now fighting in Iraq and Syria. That is more than there were in the 14 years of war in Afghanistan.
Designated foreign terrorist organizations should not be allowed to use private American companies to reach billions of people with their violent hate propaganda and recruitment. It is time to put a stop to this. It is time for Twitter to take down terrorists’ accounts.
And that is just the way it is.
Nick Bernabe | ANTIMEDIA | February 28, 2015
Chicago, IL — As the nation continues to react to the newly discovered ‘black site’ operated by Chicago Police, the mainstream media continues to bury it’s head in the sand.
National media outlets like Fox, MSNBC, and CNN are unsurprisingly refusing to touch this story, driving even further suspicion that the corporate media has become nothing more than a mouthpiece for big government and corporate America.
As we reported earlier this week, local corporate media was literally running stories about Homan Square that were direct copies from CPD’s public relations statements.
According to interviews conducted by The Atlantic, local mainstream reporters often agree with these disappear and torture tactics, so they refuse to do their jobs at uncovering what is going on there;
“I think that many crime reporters in Chicago have political views that are right in line with the police,” Tracy Siska said. “They tend to agree about the tactics needed by the police. They tend to have by one extent or the other the same racist views of the police — a lot of urban police (not all of them by any stretch, but a lot of them) embody racism.”
Meanwhile, a campaign we launched to shed light on Homan Square, #Gitmo2Chicago, trended nationwide last night on Twitter and today on Facebook — showing that the public at large is generally disgusted by these CIA-style tactics.
So while the corporate media posts 3 million stories about the color of a dress, the country is questioning the police state in a big way.
As I write this, a large protest is taking place in Chicago at Homan Square to shut it down, with more protests being planned across the country in the coming weeks.
But keep in mind, the Revolution will not be televised on Cable TV, but it will be on the internet. Watch live video from the protests here.
Israel Secretly Arrests Golani Druze, Accusing Him of Exposing Syrian Rebel-Jewish State Collaboration
Israel’s Shin Bet rearrested Golani Druze Sedki al-Maket (age 48). Until his release in 2012 (Hebrew), he’d been the longest serving Israeli security prisoner, having spent 27 years detained. News of his arrest is under gag order by Israeli media. The gag is laughable since the arrest has been reported not only by Syrian media, but in a Hebrew Facebook post.
Though Israeli security services haven’t offered any reason for his arrest, it’s likely they’re angered because a week ago he followed Syrian rebels to a meeting inside Israeli-occupied territory. The rebels met with Israeli forces who’ve previously been shown to receive logistical and intelligence support from Israel in previous reports here and in Israel and foreign media. Al Maket filmed a video while the meeting was underway, in which he described what he saw and offered it to Syrian TV. It was aired to the entire nation and likely monitored by Israeli security.
The Shin Bet doesn’t want any further leaks about such collaboration because it allows the Syrian regime to paint the rebels as Israeli stooges. It also gives the lie to those Israeli intelligence figures and journalists who’ve spoken falsely about Israel remaining neutral regarding the two sides fighting in Syria. Despite numerous air attacks against Syrian government facilities, assassinations of Syrian, Hezbollah and Iranian military, and security cooperation with rebels, Israel continues to maintain the fiction it hasn’t chosen sides.
If anyone wonders why Islamists are beheading western journalists and occupying Iraq and Syria, while carefully avoiding Israeli targets, this will explain a lot. It will also explain Israel’s approach which is to weaken central power in Syria, so that the Golan region closest to the border will become a protectorate, as was southern Lebanon until Israel’s withdrawal in 2000. Having Syrian rebels under Israeli sponsorship ruling the Syrian Golan will be much more conducive to maintaining Israel control and occupation for years to come.
Meanwhile, the Israeli media is content to publish happy news about the Golani Druze village of Majd al-Shams (home to al-Maket), which apparently has become a playground for a certain hip Israeli scene which enjoys pub crawling in the midst of Israeli-occupied Golan. If the report is to be believed, you can hardly tell the difference between it and Berlin or New York!
A regime bereft of legitimacy, save for its promise to guarantee national security, turns citizens into active players in a new culture of surveillance and reporting.
During his recent visit to Cairo in November 2014, Alain Gresh, former editor- in-chief of Le Monde Diplomatique, met with a couple of Egyptian acquaintances (a journalist and a student) in a downtown Cairo café. During their chat, which unsurprisingly involved Egyptian politics, a middle-class Egyptian woman at the next table became highly alarmed by the exchange. Her anxiety did not stop at shouting at the journalists, accusing them of conspiring to destroy Egypt, but extended to actually calling upon the security personnel guarding the nearby British Embassy to investigate the said conspiracy. The sad saga, which lasted for a few hours, ended with embarrassment for the Egyptian authorities and an apology to the French journalist.
Despite the Kafkaesque tone of the event, the ‘concerned citizen’ had actually behaved in the only logical way expected of her after a relentless, year-long campaign by the regime and dominant pro-regime media to create a state of mass hysteria regarding Egypt’s security. Since the military takeover of 2013, a public discourse has evolved churning out incessant accounts in which enemies of the Egyptian state and its people, external and internal, known and unknown, human and otherwise, are constantly conspiring to plot against the country and target its security as well as the health of its national economy. Against a rich tapestry of intrigue and terrorist discourse, the security apparatus has emerged, in this narrative, as the only national saviour capable of protecting the country from complete chaos. In fact, the legitimacy of the Sisi regime continues to derive largely from his promise to rid the country of terrorists and to restore security and order. In this regard, he makes grateful use of actual violent attacks against military and other targets especially in Sinai.
However, restoring a sense of trust in the police after the 2011 uprising remains unimaginable for the time being. After all, the 25 January uprising was in many ways a revolt against police brutality and the role of security institutions in reproducing Mubarak’s authoritarian neoliberal order and protecting its elite.
Contrary to mainstream accounts of the 25 January uprising as a peaceful episode led by middle-class, technology-savvy youth, the 18 days uprising saw heavy violence by protesters directed mainly against police targets. During the first days of the uprising, almost 100 police stations were set on fire, many detention cells opened to release detainees and police cars torched. To revamp the image of the police and its tarnished standing for the majority of citizens, an atmosphere of panic in which the police is presented as the only guarantor against total chaos is employed as a strategy. All the same, succeeding in this strategy has been no small feat especially against the backdrop of a shocking series of acquittals of all police officers of any charges of killing thousands of protesters since the January uprising. The regime’s objective of elevating the police image to that of national protector has required the spinning of a web of laws, of deepening layers of surveillance into areas of the everyday lives of citizens and, more importantly, enlisting citizens as participants in an omnipresent police regime.
Criminalising the everyday
During 2014, and in the absence of a functioning Parliament, two consecutive presidents, Adly Mansour and Sisi, decreed 140 new laws between them. The laws either criminalised new areas or made the penalties for already defined criminal activities more severe. This legal arsenal has resulted in criminalising many everyday activities and turning the mundane into the subversive in the public’s mind. The 140 new laws cover areas as varied as civil society organisations receiving foreign funding, practising politics inside university campuses and insulting the national flag. The last instance, embodied in the presidential law 41 of 2014, criminalised any form of insult to the national flag or national anthem which is punishable by a prison sentence of no more than one year and a 30,000 EGP fine. In a bid to comply with the law, the Ministry of Education decided that the same punishment will apply to school pupils whose behaviour in morning assembly could be perceived as ‘insulting’ the Egyptian flag. This could simply be the act of moving or passing in front of the flag while it is being saluted in morning assembly. The responsibility for surveillance and reporting of miscreant pupils is left to fellow-pupils, teachers and school management.
Turning citizens against each other and fuelling existing tensions between competing groups in order to create a ‘culture of informing against fellow citizens’ reached high levels in 2014. One example stands out. After repeated failures to clear Cairo’s city centre of street vendors, despite the use of violence, increased fines and prison sentences, especially since 2012, the Cairo governorate issued a shrewd decree. The decree went beyond pursuing street vendors to targeting fellow citizens who could now be punished for not reporting the offending vendors. The decree punishes, by closure and licence confiscation, any shop owner who allows street vendors to set up their stalls in the immediate vicinity of their shop. Sure enough, the new decree led to a wave of clashes between street vendors and shop owners who had long resented their presence and regarded them as unwanted competition. Many shop owners were only too happy to report the vendors, especially when egged on by the fear of losing their licences.
In a similar spirit of this informing against other, the Ministry of Transport has recently launched the campaign ‘Long live Egypt-Security is our collective responsibility’, encouraging conscientious citizens to report any suspicious behaviour of fellow commuters through a number of hotlines. The reward for reporting is an annual free transport subscription.
Layers of policing
Implementing the myriad new laws and providing surveillance for new areas of criminality has inevitably required an increase in the police force, its budget and its mandate. Already under Mubarak, the Ministry of Interior (MOI) employed 1.7 million individuals in 2009, including 850,000 police personnel and administrative staff, 450,000 Central Security Forces (CFS) personnel, and 400,000 individuals as part of the State Security Investigation Services (SSIS). In addition to formal forces and in order to support the needs of an ever-expanding regime of terror, the MOI started to ‘outsource’ its most ‘dirty’ business to baltagya (thugs). Baltagya are criminals, known to the police, usually with a record of violence, who are paid to carry out duties of ‘disciplining’ members of the public in return for the police turning a blind eye to their criminal activities.
The baltagya’s job description expanded to include voter intimidation, beating up, raping and sexually abusing criminal suspects and political activists, breaking up demonstrations and workers’ strikes, forcibly removing farmers from their land and much more. With the increasing dispossession and impoverishment of more groups in society due to intensive marketisation, Mubarak’s regime became heavily reliant on the police. Since the 1990s, therefore, the MOI budget has consistently increased its share of general expenditure, exceeding those of education and health combined. Since the 25 January uprising, the trend has continued and the budget of the MOI has increased further.
To meet the growing demand for personnel, Egypt’s Police Academy admitted 1850 students for the new academic year in July 2014. The successful candidates, accepted on the basis of lower academic achievements compared to previous years, constituted the largest class intake in the history of the academy. In a press conference held by MOI to mark the occasion, Ahmad Gad, assistant to the minister, quoted the inspiring role of the police force during the June 30th ‘revolution’ to a new generation of youth as the main factor for the rush of young people to join the academy. On the same occasion, it was also announced that new screening procedures had been put in place to exclude from admission any students who belonged to the banned Muslim Brothers (MB) organisation. Around the same time, 75 existing students were being investigated, and facing the prospect of expulsion, in an effort to purge the academy and the police force of any MB elements.
A larger, more tightly-vetted group of police graduates will come in handy to serve the proliferation of new police units. In July 2014, the MOI also reintroduced the traditional system of darak, which was abolished in 1952 in favour of more modern forms of policing. The traditional darak consisted of a single, low-ranking police officer who would patrol the streets to provide surveillance. The reinstated system will now consist of mobile units of three security officers working together. These include one officer armed with a pistol and two conscripts armed with batons. The role of the darak is one of surveillance and reporting. The unit will patrol the streets and report any suspicious behaviour to the closest police station, thus creating a better network of informing and surveillance. The plan is for this new system to be introduced in the two middle-class areas of Zamalek and Qasr El Nil (downtown Cairo) as a first step in a wider national plan.
The MOI has also been recruiting beyond graduates of the academy. In October 2014, the legislative section of the state council approved a draft law establishing community police, a new branch envisaged to involve a larger section of citizens in policing society. This new branch will hire both men and women in the age group between 18 and 22 who hold the minimum qualification of a middle school degree. They will be granted the power of arrest. The new community police units will work on ‘aiding the police in facing crime, enhancing a sense of security among citizens and [more importantly]… creating a culture of security’.
An inflated police force is not unique to Egypt. With the rise of neoliberal capitalism and its strategies of ‘accumulation by dispossession’, many regimes, including those in the ‘democratic’ west, have increased investment in policing and surveillance, especially targeting particular localities and populations; namely the poor, the unemployed, migrants and blacks Different policies such as the infamous ‘stop and search’, the ‘Injunctions for the Prevention of Nuisance and Annoyance’ in the UK and the ‘Prohibited Behaviour Order’ in the State of Western Australia have created a ‘culture of reporting’ and often given increasing discretionary powers to the police.
However, what is peculiar to Egypt is the total sense of impunity that the police has long enjoyed. This impunity, along with the increasing resources and extended mandate discussed above, is set to continue into the foreseeable future as the police serves the current regime in one crucial way. A regime bereft of any source of legitimacy, save for its promise of guaranteeing security to the nation, stops at nothing to inflate a discourse of national security around which to rally an otherwise disgruntled citizenry. Central to cementing this security discourse is the enlisting of large sectors of the population into becoming active players in the surveillance and reporting of society. Perhaps the recent call by the Chairman of the Journalists Syndicate on journalists to report any colleagues ‘proven to have incited against the army and police’ is a taste of what is yet to come.
Four Russian journalists were detained in Ukraine and ordered to return back to Moscow. Three of them were stopped when filming a Right Sector rally. The Russian Foreign Ministry has expressed outrage at the incident, calling it a “provocation.”
Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) detained Channel One journalists Elena Makarova and Sergey Korenev, and NTV’s Andrey Grigoryev, who were in Kiev at the time. The SBU indicated that they will all be deported back to Russia and banned from entering Ukraine for the next five years.
Grigoryev is already back in Moscow, NTV reported. “I got detained right in Kiev’s downtown area while filming the rally, which included ultra-nationalist Right Sector members, football fans, and others who disagree with the direction the current government is taking,” Grigoryev said. “A few of the rally participants approached me and asked for my ID. I told them I would show my identification only to police, which is where they escorted me to.”
“Nothing was recorded at the police station… It looked like the decision [to deport] was made ahead of time,” he said.
A video has emerged showing the moment the journalist was apprehended.
Makarova said that 10 people with Right Sector stickers approached her and the cameraman. The individuals showed her SBU identification. When she asked to see their badges again, she was told: “If we show you the IDs again, you will be liquidated.” When Makarova inquired as to what they meant by that, the group replied: “It is best you don’t know.” She was then separated from her cameraman Korenev.
During the interrogations, she was asked what channel she was with and then told that her station “posed a threat to [Ukraine]” and that she would be deported.
Also on Wednesday, another NTV reporter, Inna Osipova, was refused entry into Ukraine after arriving at Kiev’s airport. She was asked a lot of questions about the purpose of her trip during customs control and was eventually told “the reason for her trip could not be proven.” Her passport was confiscated and she is currently stuck inside the airport.
’Ukraine’s actions are a provocation’
The Russian Foreign Ministry described the detention as “a provocation towards Russian journalists, and a violation of Ukraine’s obligations to guarantee the safety of journalist.”
“We demand that our journalists be immediately released and the hunt for representatives of the Russian media be halted,” the ministry added. “We expect corresponding reaction from specialized international organizations, primarily OSCE Representative on the Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic, to new unlawful acts by the Ukrainian authorities.”
The incident comes after the SBU issued recommendations to strip more than 100 Russian media outlets of accreditation on February 21. Earlier in the month, 239 Ukrainian lawmakers voted in favor of suspending Russian journalists’ accreditation until the conflict in eastern Ukraine ends.
The list includes TASS, Rossiya Segodnya, and all Russian TV channels except Dozhd, according to government spokesperson Yelena Gitlyanskaya.
‘Silencing opposing voices’
Ukraine is justifying its actions by citing new legislation, professor of political science at the University of Rhode Island Nicolai Petro told RT. “It’s an attempt to achieve total information control – the ability to exclude all dissident voices, partly in Ukraine, from getting through to Ukrainian citizens.”
Ukraine is taking censorship to a whole new level, Petro explained. “In the West, the wartime precedent is that censorship can only occur in situations which directly involve military operations. The Ukrainian government is going far beyond that – to essentially silence opposition voices which are being silenced at home and use the Russian media to get back inside the country.”
The response in the West is likely to be “very muted,” the professor noted, “because this is an issue they would prefer not to deal with.”
But such attempts are usually not very successful. “The politicians tend to underestimate the ability of people to go around the restrictions to get information from a wide variety of sources. These attempts are ultimately bound to fail,” Petro said.
In addition to limiting freedom of expression inside Ukraine, Kiev announced this week that it is joining the information war by creating an ‘online army,’ according to the Information Policy Ministry.
Amherst, MA– University of Massachusetts Amherst student, Thomas Donovan, who is majoring in legal studies and had planned to become a Massachusetts State Trooper, has filed a lawsuit alleging his civil rights were violated after he was pepper sprayed, assaulted, and arrested for filming police brutality.
The officer also repeatedly stomped on his cellphone in an attempt to destroy the evidence and cover up the crime- but the video survived.
The incident took place last March during his neighborhood’s Blarney Blowout parties, an annual tradition attended by thousands and held the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day where Amherst and neighboring towns are full of informal St. Patrick’s Day drinking and festivities.
Last year saw 58 people arrested, 21 of which were UMass students after police in riot gear violently moved in.
During the commotion, Donovan noticed an officer using excessive force while making an arrest, so the student pulled out his cell phone to exercise his First Amendment right to film the incident. Donovan was on the other side of a fence, a safe distance away, and was not interfering with the brutality at all. At this point. An officer wearing full riot gear and carrying a pepper-ball gun— believed to be Officer Andrew Hulse—approached Mr. Donovan to prevent him from filming, the lawsuit states.
Despite the police intimidation, Donovan did not stop filming. He was then pepper-sprayed at close range by another officer. Donovan requested the officer’s name and badge number, but the officer would not identify himself.
Moments later, Officer Jesus Arocho knocked the phone out of his hand and threw him to the ground face first. The phone landed flat on the ground with the camera pointed up and continuing to film.
“Arocho, assisted by Defendant Andrew Hulse, placed Mr. Donovan under arrest. Meanwhile, Mr. Donovan’s phone, which had landed on the ground with the camera facingup, continued to film. It captured the actions of another police officer, Defendant John Doe 3, who walked over to the phone, stood over it, then stomped on it with his boot, several times, in an unsuccessful effort to destroy it.” the lawsuit continued.
Thankfully, Donovan’s phone was inside a shock-resistant protective case and the phone was unharmed. The video, and evidence of this blatant misconduct, was preserved.
Arocho then arrested Donovan on bogus charges of “disorderly conduct” and for “riot, failure to disperse.” These charges were ultimately dropped.
Arocho lied in his police report, stating Donovan was pepper sprayed “as he began to close the distance between himself and the officers.” The complaint points out that this claim is blatantly false as the incident was captured on video.
Donovan ended up spending 5 to 6 hours in a cell, falsely imprisoned, and was denied any assistance removing the pepper spray from his eyes.
Due to the officer’s insane actions, Donovan was suspended from the university, until he contested and won after he was found not to have committed any wrong-doing.
“Defendants knew that it was wrong to stop a civilian from filming police officers in public when the civilian did not interfere with police activity.
Defendants knew that it was wrong to use force against a civilian for filming police officers in public when the civilian did not interfere with police activity.
Defendants knew that it was wrong to arrest a civilian for filming police officers in public when the civilian did not interfere with police activity.
Defendants knew that it was wrong to try to destroy a civilian’s phone merely because it contained video of police officers performing their duties in public.” the complaint asserts.
This year’s Blarney Blowout parties are expected to begin on March 7, but students will be prohibited from hosting guests who are not UMass Amherst students. The University will also be offering “school sanctioned” events this year to monitor the amount of fun being had.
Perhaps a more reasonable course of action would have been to have the militarized police stand down and not bring violence and chaos to celebrations.
Chicago, Ill. – In a startling report from the Guardian, details have been revealed about Chicago police detaining American citizens at “black sites.” These sites are similar to those used by the CIA around the world to interrogate/torture alleged terrorists.
The stunning revelation of the Chicago Police Department operating what amounts to an off-the-books interrogation facility is threatening, to say the least. The facility apparently operates outside the bounds of the U.S. Constitution, and its discovery exposes the very real and present danger of the threat posed by the police state to American freedom and liberty.
Housed in a warehouse on Chicago’s west side, Homan Square has long been the home to secretive police work. Attorneys as well as protesters, tell a tale of being systematically being denied their constitutional rights.
According to the Guardian,
Alleged police practices at Homan Square, according to those familiar with the facility who spoke out to the Guardian after its investigation into Chicago police abuse, include:
• Keeping arrestees out of official booking databases.
• Beating by police, resulting in head wounds.
• Shackling for prolonged periods.
• Denying attorneys access to the “secure” facility.
• Holding people without legal counsel for between 12 and 24 hours, including people as young as 15.
At least one man was found unresponsive in a Homan Square “interview room” and later pronounced dead.
In addition, no one is booked into Homan Square. Thus, there is no way of allowing anyone to account for their whereabouts as would typically happen at a precinct. When attorneys attempt to gain access due to a client being inside, they are summarily turned away from the “secure facility.”
“It’s sort of an open secret among attorneys that regularly make police station visits, this place – if you can’t find a client in the system, odds are they’re there,” said Chicago lawyer Julia Bartmes.
According to Chicago civil-rights attorney Flint Taylor the practices entrenched in the operation of Homan Square violate both the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
“This Homan Square revelation seems to me to be an institutionalization of the practice that dates back more than 40 years,” Taylor said, “of violating a suspect or witness’ rights to a lawyer and not to be physically or otherwise coerced into giving a statement.”
According to Eliza Solowiej of Chicago’s First Defense Legal Aid, one man had his booking information changed in the central booking database. He was then taken to Homan Square with no record of the transfer. After his stint at Homan Square, he was taken to the hospital with a head injury, and she was finally able to find him.
“He said that the officers caused his head injuries in an interrogation room at Homan Square. I had been looking for him for six to eight hours, and every department member I talked to said they had never heard of him,” Solowiej said. “He sent me a phone pic of his head injuries because I had seen him in a police station right before he was transferred to Homan Square without any.”
Then, in a case that highlights the extremely ominous nature of Homan Square, 44-year-old John Hubbard was pronounced dead on February 2, 2013 after being found “unresponsive inside an interview room.”
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office “could not locate any record for the Guardian indicating a cause of Hubbard’s death. It remains unclear why Hubbard was ever in police custody,” the Guardian reports.
We are clearly teetering on the brink of total despotism and violations of the Constitution. This egregious practice must be investigated and prosecuted by the Department of Justice if they hope to keep the social fabric from unraveling.
James Trainum, a retired Washington DC homicide detective, who now studies national policing issues for the Innocence Project and the Constitution Project said,
“I’ve never known any kind of organized, secret place where they go and just hold somebody before booking for hours and hours and hours. That scares the hell out of me that that even exists or might exist.”
The egregious nature of this clear and present danger to American liberty cannot be overstated. According to Tracy Siska, a criminologist and civil-rights activist with the Chicago Justice Project,
“The real danger in allowing practices like Guantánamo or Abu Ghraib is the fact that they always creep into other aspects,” Siska said.
“They creep into domestic law enforcement, either with weaponry like with the militarization of police, or interrogation practices. That’s how we ended up with a black site in Chicago.”
Revelations like this case show how easy it is for constitutional protections to be completely disregarded and how quickly the slide into tyranny can occur.
Let’s get the word out and wake people up, by sharing this article wide and far. The time has come to unite and demand the systemic changes necessary to create a more just society and sustaining liberty.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a new law on terrorism, announced in the official Gazette on Tuesday morning.
The law’s 10 articles focus on defining terrorist entities, listing such groups and bodies, and stipulating legal processes for appealing these lists.
The law has been widely criticized since it was first drafted, with some claiming it restricts civil liberties.
Article one of the law defines terrorist entities as: “any association, organization, group or gang that attempts to, aims to, or calls for destabilizing public order; endangers the wellbeing or safety of society; harms individuals or terrorizes them, or endangers their lives or freedoms or rights or safety; endangers social unity; harms the environment or natural resources or monuments or communications or transportation or funds or buildings or public or private property, or occupies them; obstructs the work of public authorities or the judiciary or government entities or local municipalities or houses of worship or hospitals or scientific institutions or diplomatic missions or international organizations; blocks public or private transportation, or roads; harms national unity or threatens national peace; obstructs the implementation of the constitution or laws or bylaws; uses violence or power or threats or acts of terrorism to achieve any of its goals.”
The second article gives the prosecution the right to draw up lists of identified terrorist entities, including groups that are officially ruled as terrorist organizations. The prosecution will also be tasked with generating lists of “terrorists” found guilty of organizing identified terrorist groups.
The law stipulates that organizations designated as terrorist entities must remain on such lists for three weeks, and if no judicial order is issued to confirm the nature of these organizations, the prosecution retains the right to extend the period for further investigation.
Penalties against designated terrorist entities can include dissolving the organization, suspending its activities, shutting down its headquarters, banning meetings held by its members, halting funding to the organization directly or indirectly, freezing assets owned by the organization or its leaders, banning membership to, or promotion of, the group, and temporarily banning the group from political participation.
Mohamed Zaree, Egypt program manager at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) told Mada Masr previously that the law broadens the definition of a terrorist act to such an extent that it could encompass “crimes and even legal activities that do not relate to terrorism, including terms which are difficult to define legally, such as ‘severely undermining public order,’ ‘subjecting the safety, interest, or security of society to danger,’ ‘disrupting the authorities from carrying out some of their activities,’ ‘subjecting the lives, rights, or freedoms of citizens to danger,’ ‘preventing educational institutions from carrying out their work,’ and ‘[carrying out] acts which seek to hinder the implementation of the constitution or the law’.”
Given this broad definition, political groups, activists and civil society organizations could potentially be targeted under the law, he warned.
“It is clear that the principle aim of this bill in its current form is not to counter terrorism, but rather to restrict such groups, movements, and organizations from existing. This provision could easily be interpreted to punish individuals or organizations which call for constitutional or legal reforms, even if done peacefully,” Zaree claimed.
Those still wondering what really happened in gonzo journalist Michael Hastings’ fiery demise likely sat up straight during 60 Minutes’ recent piece on how hackers can hijack the controls of a car.
After Hastings died in a bizarre one-car crash along a straight Los Angeles street, former counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke noted the accident was “consistent with a car cyber attack” and that it was easy to hack cars. It seems he was right, as 60 Minutes demonstrated in a chilling fashion.
In the segment, a nervous Lesley Stahl smashed into safety cones on a driving course after two men using a laptop computer remotely commandeered her brakes. Former video game developer Dan Kaufman, who’s now working for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, set up the demonstration.
In trying to figure out what kinds of attacks enemies might be plotting on American soil, government agencies are learning the same techniques. To wrest the controls from Stahl, a hacker dialed in through the vehicle’s OnStar system to first busy up the computer, then planted code that allowed it to reprogram the control systems. Kaufman stood by giving driving orders to the hackers.
The demonstration underscored what Clarke, counterterrorism chief under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, said after Hastings’ crash. “You can do some really highly destructive things now, through hacking a car, and it’s not that hard,” he said. “So if there were a cyber attack on the car—and I’m not saying there was—I think whoever did it would probably get away with it.” Clarke added that the LAPD was unlikely to have the tools necessary to detect such an attack, particularly after a fire.
No Crowbar Needed, Just an iPad
One thing is clear: Drivers are at risk.
In a stinging report released this week, Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Edward Markey slammed car companies for their failure to protect car owners from hackers and intrusive data collectors who might seize control of increasingly computerized vehicles. “Automakers haven’t done their part to protect us from cyber-attacks or privacy invasions,” he said.
Much of the report focuses on how car computers can be used to collect driving history, from where a car is parked to where it traveled. But it also reveals hackers’ ability to remotely turn, stop and accelerate cars. Markey’s report notes that car companies can now disable vehicles if owners fall behind on their payments. Burglars can exploit the same vulnerabilities.
But Markey doesn’t believe there have been other types of incidents in which hackers seize control of cars—yet.
Nonetheless, the 60 Minutes story and Markey’s investigation likely made drivers squirm the next time they climbed behind the wheel.
The report has also reignited suspicions that arose nearly two years ago after Hastings’ crash.
Hastings’ work as a thorn in the side of government and the 33-year-old journalist’s death in an unusual crash in June 2013 immediately triggered speculation. A witness reported seeing Hastings’ new silver Mercedes C250 coupe speeding down a Hollywood street before dawn when it bounced, slammed into a tree and burst into flames.
Shortly before Hastings’ death, he sent what was described as a “panicky” email to friends expressing concern that associates were being interviewed by “the Feds.” He also wrote that he was onto a big story and needed to “get off the radar for a bit.” His 2010 story for Rolling Stone in which Stanley McChrystal skewered the White House and its strategy in Afghanistan led to the general’s resignation.
The FBI denied Hastings was the target of any investigation, yet a Freedom of Information Act request later unearthed an FBI file on Hastings. Hastings also told a neighbor he thought someone had been tampering with his car. At the time of his death he was working on an article about CIA director John Brennan.
The Los Angeles Police Department concluded that the crash was an accident and did not involve foul play. The coroner’s report also declared Hastings’ death, ascribed to “massive blunt force trauma,” as accidental, and revealed that there were trace amounts of marijuana and amphetamine in his system, though neither was considered a factor in the crash. The report noted that Hastings’ family had been trying to convince him to go into detox.
Just an Accident?
Hastings’ widow, who hired a private investigator to examine all the evidence, at least publicly labeled the crash an accident. “You know, my gut here, was that it was just a really tragic accident,” Elise Jordan said in an interview two months after Hastings’ death.
Hastings’ brother Jonathan said that he feared his sibling was experiencing a “manic episode” before his death, which he suspected was linked to drugs. He had flown to LA to try to convince his brother to enter rehab; Hastings died the next day. “The government is out of control in a lot of ways, so I sympathize with people who want to turn Mike’s death into some kind of symbol,” he said. “I just think that his death happens to be a bad foundation to build that case on.”
But not everyone agrees. “I’m definitely suspicious about the crash,” Montana state Rep. Daniel Zolnikov told WhoWhatWhy. The Republican legislator has introduced a bill, which he says was inspired in part by Hastings’ work, to bar state government agencies from accessing servers to get reporters’ notes.
Like Markey, Zolnikov is also concerned about risks posed by increasingly high-tech cars, which he described as “computers without protections.”
If that’s the case, then the information superhighway and highways have merged dangerously.
Bil’in, Occupied Palestine – On Friday 13th February, Israeli forces assaulted the demonstration in Bil’in with hundreds of tear gas rounds, dozens of stun grenades and pepper spray, injuring eleven Palestinian, Israeli and international demonstrators. Member of the Bil’in popular committee Mohammed Khatib and a UK citizen and solidarity volunteer Michael “Mick” Bowman were both violently arrested. At the demonstration, Palestinian activists carried posters honoring Kayla Mueller and condemning the murders of the three students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
“As people were protesting a soldier suddenly came running, wielding pepper spray, spraying it at journalists and activists indiscriminately,” reported Karam Saleem, a Palestinian activist present documenting the demonstration. Those who had been pepper sprayed, including Mohammed Khatib, were taken down to an ambulance to treat their burns. Saleem continued, “Mohammed was about twenty meters away from the main part of the protest, still suffering from pepper spray, when suddenly a soldier ran after him and grabbed him. Another five soldiers quickly surrounded him and shoved him violently to the ground.”
He was handcuffed and blindfolded before being loaded into a military jeep.
Israeli forces targeted journalists and those attempting to document the protest; many were shoved and threatened while attempting to photograph or film. Those present reported that the Israeli military also fired tear gas directly at people holding cameras.
Journalist being assaulted by Israeli forces – only one of many that Friday in Bil’in (photo by ISM)
Israeli forces pepper sprayed demonstrators who were doing nothing more that trying to photograph the army’s brutality, and also pepper sprayed those holding posters of Kayla Mueller and the three US students from Chapel Hill. Jameel Al-Barghouthi, head of the Palestinian Authority Committee Against the Apartheid Wall and Settlements, Munthir Amira, head of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC), Mohammed Khatib, a member of Bil’in’s Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, Issam Rimawi, a Palestinian photojournalist, two Palestinian activists Abdallah Elian and Kafah Mansour, British citizen and activist Mick Bowman, two female Israeli activists, and one Danish and one Dutch female international volunteer were all injured.
“The army was extremely brutal yesterday in their use of tear gas, beatings, and pepper spray,” recalled Tali Shapiro, an Israeli activist who was severely pepper sprayed in Friday’s demonstration, suffering from first degree burns on her hands, ears, and most of her throat and neck. “We saw they were beating and arresting someone (Mohammed Khatib), so I ran towards them. By the time I got up the hill Mohammed had been taken away and another man [Mick] was on the ground with many soldiers on top of him, twisting his limbs and head. I immediately took out my phone to take pictures. The soldiers started pushing away journalists. They formed a line in front of several of us, and before I could assess the situation another soldier sprayed my face with pepper spray.”
Activist Tali Shapiro after being severely pepper sprayed (photo by ISM)
Fifty-six-year-old Mick Bowman, a social worker and resident of Newcastle upon Tyne, England, recalled that in the time before his arrest, “the Israeli forces behaved with particular aggression towards protesters who were carrying the posters of Kayla and of the students from Chapel Hill North Carolina.” Border police threw stun grenades directly towards demonstrators, scattering those holding posters near the front of the protest.
“Next thing I knew,” Mick recalled, “three or four soldiers jumped on me from behind and forced me to the ground. I was lying face downwards, with a couple of them kneeling on my back.
Mick Bowman, knelt on, assaulted and pepper sprayed by Israeli border police arresting him (photo by ISM)
As they were handcuffing me, one of them stood on my hand, rubbing his boot back and forth and crushing my thumb. One of them grabbed my nostrils, and another was pressing down on my face, causing abrasions and bruising around my right eye. After they had handcuffed me, a border policeman also pepper sprayed the left side of my face from the distance of a few inches.”
After their arrest, Mohammed and Mick were transported to the Binyamin settlement police station. Mohammed Khatib was taken to Ofer military prison and Michael Bowman was taken to Muskubiya (the Russian Compound) prison in Jerusalem. Both were charged with ‘assaulting a soldier.’
“When police officers use violence they always claim that violence was used against them. It’s standard procedure” explained Mohammed Khatib. Mick was released on the evening of February 14th, and Mohammed was eventually released on the evening of February 15th, on a bail of 4,000 shekels (1,030 USD).
Abdullah Abu Rahma, head of the Bil’in popular committee, described the purpose of demonstration in Bil’in: “On Friday we protested against the theft of our land by Israel’s illegal wall and settlements and to express our resistance to terrorism everywhere. We carried the images of Kayla Mueller who was killed while being held captive by Da’esh and who had marched with us in Bil’in. We also carried the images of Deah Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Abu-Salha, who were murdered in their home in North Carolina. We made it clear that we will oppose terrorism and the killing of innocent people whether it is committed by organizations like Da’esh, by states like Israel or by individuals like the murderer from Chapel Hill.” This Friday will mark the tenth anniversary of Bil’in’s popular resistance demonstrations – against the Apartheid Wall, against the Israeli occupation, and against oppression and violence everywhere.
GAZA – The Palestinian ministry of information strongly denounced Israel’s channel 7 for fabricating claims about some of the journalists that had been killed by the Israeli army during the last war on the Gaza Strip, and described its report as “misleading.”
Israel’s channel 7 claimed in a recent report that eight of the journalists who were killed during Israel’s last military operation in Gaza were working for Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
The information ministry said in a press release on Sunday that the channel’s claims about the journalists was an exposed attempt by the Israeli government to shirk its responsibility for the crimes its army had committed against the journalists in Gaza.
The ministry underlined that all Israeli crimes against the journalists in the last war were documented in reports issued by international and local organizations, especially the International Federation of Journalists.
It said that Israel’s attempt to deflect attention from its crimes by questioning the number of slain journalists and their professional activities could not deceive the UN probe committee or the international community.