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2012 February 22 | Activist News
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The Road to World War 3

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Edward Snowden

Open Letter To Obama

July 26, 2013 President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500 Re: Civil Disobedience, Edward J. Snowden, and the Constitution Dear Mr. President: You are acutely aware More »

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U.S. Companies Pay Just One-Third Of The Legal Tax Rate: GAO Study

Huffington Post July 1, 2013 By Mark Gongloff Big, profitable U.S. companies paid an average federal tax rate of less than 13 percent in 2010, according to a new study — or More »

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Man Tried for Chalk Drawings Found Not Guilty

NBC San Diego July 1, 2013 By Christina London The man accused of vandalism for drawing with chalk outside banks has been found not guilty on all charges. A jury returned its More »

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The Bigger Story Behind the AP Spying Scandal

Washington’s Blog/Global Research May 20, 2012 By George Washington Attack on the Press You know that the Department of Justice tapped scores of phone lines at the Associated Press. You might have More »

Daily Archives: February 22, 2012

Cop Identified in Scott Olsen Incident?

East Bay Express
Feb. 22, 2012
By Ali Winston

Video and police records indicate that Oakland Police Officer Robert Roche threw a stun grenade at protesters trying to help the injured Iraq War vet.

One of the most indelible images of the Occupy movement to date is that of Marine veteran Scott Olsen being carried away from a skirmish line of riot police at 14th Street and Broadway on October 25 in Oakland. Stunned and bleeding from an ugly gash on his forehead, the 24-year-old Wisconsin native had been struck in the head by an unknown projectile during the first salvo of tear gas, flash-bang grenades, and less-than-lethal munitions fired at hundreds of Occupy Oakland supporters facing off against Oakland police and several other Bay Area law enforcement agencies called in on mutual aid.


Video from the tear gas-soaked night of the 25th shows a prone Olsen lying in front of metal barricades and police in riot gear. As several protesters ran to Olsen’s aid, someone from the cluster of police appears to lob a flash-bang grenade into the crowd gathered around the young veteran. The stun grenade explodes amid a cloud of tear gas and deafening noise, scattering Olsen’s rescuers.

The footage of the flash-bang grenade exploding practically on top of Olsen and his rescuers, as well as dramatic video of a stunned and bloody Olsen being carried away from the intersection, went viral within hours, propelling Occupy Oakland to international attention and setting the stage for the November 2nd General Strike.

In the weeks and months afterward, rumors and accusations flew about the identity of the officer who fired the projectile that wounded Olsen, and the one who threw the concussion grenade on top of him. Rumors circulated on the Internet that either a San Francisco sheriff’s deputy or an officer from the Palo Alto Police Department was responsible. Members of Anonymous even went so far as to publish pictures and the personal information of a San Francisco sheriff’s deputy they believe tossed the stun grenade at Olsen.

But an extensive review of video footage and Oakland Police Department records by this reporter indicates that Robert Roche, an acting sergeant in the Oakland Police Department and member of OPD’s “Tango Teams,” threw the flash-bang at Olsen and his rescuers. It’s also not the first time that Roche’s actions have come under scrutiny. Police records show that Roche had previously killed three people in the line of duty.

Full Article Here – http://www.eastbayexpress.com/ebx/cop-identified-in-scott-olsen-incident/Content?oid=3131933 

Egypt: Recent security force policing ‘reminiscent of Mubarak’ era

Amnesty International
Feb. 22, 2012

*Over 100 protesters killed in last five months
 

*Recently-imported US tear gas played a key role in excessive response

A year after the uprising, Egypt’s security forces continue to kill protestors with the same brutal tactics used in Hosni Mubarak’s last days in power, Amnesty International said after concluding that riot police used excessive force in policing recent protests in Cairo and Suez.

The protests earlier this month followed the Port Said tragedy in which more than 70 supporters from Al-Ahly club were killed after a football match on 1 February. In Amnesty’s view, between 2 and 6 February the Ministry of Interior’s Central Security Forces (riot police) used excessive force as they dispersed the protests, killing at least 16 people and injuring hundreds of others in the process.


Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said:

“The behaviour of the security forces in dealing with these protests is unfortunately very reminiscent of a time many Egyptians thought they had left behind after the ‘25 January Revolution’.

“Promises of reform of the security forces continue to ring hollow in the face of the killing of more than a hundred protesters in the last five months.

“Not only have the authorities not reformed the security forces, but evidence of the use of rubber bullets and live ammunition is met with denial and accusation of foreign interference by Egyptian officials.

“Police should not use firearms against persons except in self-defence or defence of others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury. Intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.

“Security forces have a duty to restore law and order, however, the recent use of excessive force by the security forces show a complete disrespect for human life.

“It is now very clear that the newly-elected parliamentary assembly must urgently tackle the long overdue reforms to the way security forces have been policing demonstrations.

“Unless the Egyptian security apparatus is reformed with the aim of providing security and upholding the right to peaceful protest, we fear more bloodshed will follow.”

Previous calls for reform of the security sector only led to piecemeal changes while the authorities continued to inappropriately use teargas and live ammunitions.

The Egyptian authorities ostensibly announced investigations into incidents leading to the killing or severe injury of protesters. Yet no lessons were learnt and no clear instructions seem to have been given to the security forces, including military personnel, to uphold the right to peaceful assembly and to police demonstrations in line with international standards.

Lethal force was used without prior warning to disperse protesters in Cairo and Suez who were, for the most part, peacefully demonstrating and chanting. Some protestors were, however, throwing stones at the security forces and Amnesty heard occasional reports of protesters throwing Molotov cocktails at the riot police. In rare incidents, shotgun ammunition and fireworks were also fired at riot police.
 
Casualties

The Cairo University Hospitals alone received some 269 injured people during the protests as well as seven of the 11 deaths that took place in the capital. Most of those injured were suffering from tear gas inhalation or injuries from shotgun pellets, which, in some cases, caused rupture to the eye globe. In one case, a protester died from shotgun ammunition after a pellet reached his brain. Two others died from gunshots to the head and one from a gunshot to the stomach.

Full Article Here – http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=19958&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=newsfeed&utm_source=social 

Nigerians too poor to sue over corporate abuse: jurists

AFP
Feb. 21, 2012

Victims of environmental disasters or other abuses inflicted by corporations in Nigeria are being denied justice as they are too poor or do not know how to seek legal recourse, jurists said Wednesday.

“Poor rural victims of corporate human rights abuse are usually unaware of their legal rights and don’t have the financial resources to file court process, gather information and evidence, and afford legal services,” said Carlos Lopez, the International Commission of Jurists‘ senior legal advisor in a report.

Even though a legal aid scheme exists, it “suffers from chronic underfunding.”


“As a result, it fails to help those most in need to access judicial remedies,” added Lopez.

The problem is illustrated by the small numbers of litigations against corporations, despite several instances of serious pollution generated over the decades of oil or mineral extraction.

Of the few that make it to court, even fewer manage to obtain rulings in favour of victims, noted the report.

In October, a Nigerian tribal king filed a lawsuit in a US court on behalf of his people against oil giant Shell, seeking $1 billion in compensation for extensive pollution that sickened the population and damaged their lands.

The plaintiffs said they decided to file the suit in a US court because of Shell’s history of a “culture of impunity” and “disregard” for the Nigerian judicial process.

Full Article Here – http://ca.news.yahoo.com/nigerians-too-poor-sue-over-corporate-abuse-jurists-002016746.html 

Occupy Movement Targets Corporate Interest Group with Ties to Legislators

Common Dreams
Feb. 21, 2012

A coalition of Occupy groups, led by Occupy Portland in Oregon, is calling on people “to target corporations that are part of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)” with direct actions and public events later this month. The Occupy groups, organizing under the banner Shut Down the Corporations, sees ALEC as the “prime example of the way corporations buy off legislators and craft legislation that serves the interests of corporations and not people.” ALEC was instrumental in creating the anti-labor legislation in Wisconsin last year and the racist bill SB 1070 in Arizona, among many other measures pushed or passed in state houses across the country. ALEC uses its large coffers and wealthy membership to spread free-market, corporate-friendly laws around the country.

The day of action is slated for Leap Day, February 29th.


According to their call to action:

Occupy Portland calls for a national day of non-violent direct action to reclaim our voices and challenge our society’s obsession with profit and greed by shutting down the corporations. We are rejecting a society that does not allow us control of our future. We will reclaim our ability to shape our world in a democratic, cooperative, just and sustainable direction.

We call on the Occupy Movement and everyone seeking freedom and justice to join us in this day of action.

There has been a theft by the 1% of our democratic ability to shape and form the society in which we live and our society is steered toward the destructive pursuit of consumption, profit and greed at the expense of all else.

What is ALEC?

ALEC describes itself as a “unique,” “unparalleled” and “unmatched” organization. The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), which studies and tracks the group at its ALEC Exposed website, agrees.  They say that ALEC should not be considered a lobbyist group or a corporate front group, but something altogether worse. “It is as if a state legislature had been reconstituted,” ALEC Exposed explains on their website, “yet corporations had pushed the people out the door.”

Through ALEC, behind closed doors, corporations hand state legislators the changes to the law they desire that directly benefit their bottom line. Along with legislators, corporations have membership in ALEC. Corporations sit on all nine ALEC task forces and vote with legislators to approve “model” bills. They have their own corporate governing board which meets jointly with the legislative board. (ALEC says that corporations do not vote on the board.) Corporations fund almost all of ALEC’s operations. Participating legislators, overwhelmingly conservative Republicans, then bring those proposals home and introduce them in statehouses across the land as their own brilliant ideas and important public policy innovations—without disclosing that corporations crafted and voted on the bills. ALEC boasts that it has over 1,000 of these bills introduced by legislative members every year, with one in every five of them enacted into law.

Full Article Here – http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/02/21

The U.N. Threat to Internet Freedom

Wall Street Journal
Feb. 21, 2012
By ROBERT M. MCDOWELL

On Feb. 27, a diplomatic process will begin in Geneva that could result in a new treaty giving the United Nations unprecedented powers over the Internet. Dozens of countries, including Russia and China, are pushing hard to reach this goal by year’s end. As Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said last June, his goal and that of his allies is to establish “international control over the Internet” through the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a treaty-based organization under U.N. auspices.

If successful, these new regulatory proposals would upend the Internet’s flourishing regime, which has been in place since 1988. That year, delegates from 114 countries gathered in Australia to agree to a treaty that set the stage for dramatic liberalization of international telecommunications. This insulated the Internet from economic and technical regulation and quickly became the greatest deregulatory success story of all time.

Since the Net’s inception, engineers, academics, user groups and others have convened in bottom-up nongovernmental organizations to keep it operating and thriving through what is known as a “multi-stakeholder” governance model. This consensus-driven private-sector approach has been the key to the Net’s phenomenal success.


In 1995, shortly after it was privatized, only 16 million people used the Internet world-wide. By 2011, more than two billion were online—and that number is growing by as much as half a million every day. This explosive growth is the direct result of governments generally keeping their hands off the Internet sphere.

Net access, especially through mobile devices, is improving the human condition more quickly—and more fundamentally—than any other technology in history. Nowhere is this more true than in the developing world, where unfettered Internet technologies are expanding economies and raising living standards.

Full Article Here – http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204792404577229074023195322.html 

Court: Rights don’t have to be read to prisoners

Associated Press
Feb. 21, 2012
By JESSE J. HOLLAND

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court said Tuesday investigators don’t have to read Miranda rights to inmates during jailhouse interrogations about crimes unrelated to their current incarceration.

The high court, on a 6-3 vote, overturned a federal appeals court decision throwing out prison inmate Randall Lee Fields‘ conviction, saying Fields was not in “custody” as defined by Miranda and therefore did not have to have his rights read to him.

“Imprisonment alone is not enough to create a custodial situation within the meaning of Miranda,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the court’s majority opinion.


Three justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, dissented and said the court’s decision would limit the rights of prisoners.

“Today, for people already in prison, the court finds it adequate for the police to say: ‘You are free to terminate this interrogation and return to your cell,’” Ginsburg said in her dissent. “Such a statement is no substitute for one ensuring that an individual is aware of his rights.”

Miranda rights come from a 1966 decision that involved police questioning of Ernesto Miranda in a rape and kidnapping case in Phoenix. It required officers to tell suspects they have the right to remain silent and to have a lawyer represent them, even if they can’t afford one.

Previous court rulings have required Miranda warnings before police interrogations for people who are in custody, which is defined as when a reasonable person would think he cannot end the questioning and leave.

Fields was serving a 45-day sentence in prison on disorderly conduct charges when a jail guard and sheriff’s deputies from Lenawee County, Mich., removed him from his cell and took him to a conference room. The deputies, after telling him several times he was free to leave at any time, then questioned him for seven hours about allegations that he had sexually assaulted a minor. Fields eventually confessed and was charged and convicted of criminal sexual assault.

Fields was then sentenced to 10 to 15 years in prison but appealed the use of his confession, saying that he was never given his Miranda rights on the sexual assault charges.

On appeal, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati threw out his confession and conviction, ruling that it is required that police read inmates their Miranda rights anytime they are isolated from the rest of the inmates in situations where they would be likely to incriminate themselves.


Full Article Here – http://www.chron.com/news/article/Court-Rights-don-t-have-to-be-read-to-prisoners-3346291.php

Rami Al-Sayed, Syrian Citizen Journalist, Is Killed During Attack On Homs

NPR
Feb. 21, 2012
By Ahmed Al Omran

Early this morning the bombardment of Homs was streamed live to the web by a citizen journalist. But as the forces loyal to Bashar Assad continued their attack on restive city, the stream went quiet and never came back again.

Rami al-Sayed, the man who kept that live stream, was injured during the shelling on Bab Amr today. After bleeding for hours, he succumbed to his wounds. The last video on his YouTube channel, uploaded by his brother, shows al-Sayed’s body in a makeshift hospital:

Dr. Mohammad al-Mohammd, who appears speaking in the video above, described al-Sayed as one of the best videographers and journalists they had in Bab Amr.

“Rami was killed because he was broadcasting real footage from Bab Amr,” al-Mohammad said as he showed the wounds that killed al-Sayed. “Rami was killed because he was recording the truth.”

Full Article Here – http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/02/21/147224200/rami-al-sayed-syrian-citizen-journalist-is-killed-in-attack-on-homs