Friday, October 24, 2014

Ferguson on edge as ruling in Michael Brown case looms


  1. Missouri police have been brushing up on constitutional rights and stocking up on riot gear ...

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - Missouri police have been brushing up on constitutional rights and stocking up on riot gear to prepare for a grand jury's decision about whether to charge a white police officer who fatally shot a black 18-year-old in suburban St. Louis.
The preparations are aimed at avoiding a renewed outbreak of violence during the potentially large demonstrations that could follow an announcement of whether Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson will face a criminal trial for the Aug. 9 death of Michael Brown.
Police and protesters have repeatedly clashed since the shooting, which prompted a national conversation about race and police tactics. Images of officers in riot gear and armored vehicles confronting protesters have drawn widespread criticism.
Many protesters want Darren Wilson indicted for murder. Grand jury proceedings are secret, but legal analysts say recently leaked information about Wilson's testimony to investigators may be an attempt to prepare the public for the possibility that he might not be charged.
The decision could be made public within the next month.

Amnesty International says police in #Ferguson committed human rights abuses. Big shocker


Press Release
October 24, 2014

Amnesty International Releases New Ferguson Report Documenting Human Rights Abuses

Following the initial protests in Ferguson, Missouri sparked by the shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, Amnesty International USA dispatched a human rights delegation which included observers to monitor the protests and police response. Today, the human rights organization has released a new report, On the Streets of America: Human Rights Abuses in Ferguson, documenting the human rights concerns witnessed first-hand by Amnesty International while in Ferguson from August 14-22, 2014. The report also outlines a series of recommendations that need to be implemented with regards to the use of force by law enforcement officers and the policing of protests.
This weekend, human rights activists are gathering in St. Louis for Amnesty International USA’s 2014 Midwest Regional Conference.
“What Amnesty International witnessed in Missouri on the ground this summer underscored that human rights abuses do not just happen across borders and oceans,” said Steven W. Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “No matter where you live in the world, everyone is entitled to the same basic rights as a human being – and one of those rights is the freedom to peacefully protest. Standing on W. Florissant Avenue with my colleagues, I saw a police force, armed to the teeth, with military-grade weapons. I saw a crowd that included the elderly and young children fighting the effects of tear gas. There must be accountability and systemic change that follows this excessive force.”
What happened between Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson remains uncertain, due to conflicting reports. Michael Brown was unarmed and as such, it calls into question whether the use of lethal force was justified. The circumstances of the killing must be urgently clarified. Investigations must be concluded as soon as possible and must be transparent, as this case merits public scrutiny. Amnesty International’s report urges the Missouri Legislature to amend the Missouri statute that authorizes the use of lethal force, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 563.046, to ensure that the use of lethal force by law enforcement would be limited to those instances in which it is necessary to protect life.
The report also details the impact of city, county and state law enforcement and officials’ responses on the rights of individuals in Ferguson to participate in peaceful protest. Amnesty International documented a number of restrictions placed on protestors, including the imposition of curfews, designated protest areas and a “five-second” keep walking rule. Intimidation of protesters is also included in the report, which details the use of heavy-duty riot gear and military-grade weapons as well as questionable protest dispersal practices, including the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and long range acoustic devices.
“This is about accountability,” added Hawkins. “The events in Ferguson sparked a much-needed and long-overdue conversation on race and policing in America. That conversation cannot stop. In order to restore justice to Ferguson, and every community afflicted by police brutality, we must both document the injustices committed and fight to prevent them from happening again. There is a path forward, but it requires substantive actions on the local, state and federal levels.”
The mistreatment of journalists and observers is another area of focus highlighted in the report. Between August 13 and October 2, at least 19 journalists and members of the media were arrested by law enforcement while others were subjected to tear gas and the use of rubber bullets. Reporters for CNN, Al Jazeera America and other outlets report being harassed or physically threatened. Likewise, legal and human rights observers have also faced arrest for carrying out their roles.
Amnesty International makes several recommendations to local, state and federal authorities regarding both the use of lethal force and the policing of protests. The organization also renews its recommendation that the Department of Justice (DOJ) conduct an independent, transparent and impartial investigation into the death of Michael Brown; promptly implement a DOJ-led review of police tactics and practices nationwide, and release nationwide data on police shootings. Finally, the report calls for the United States Congress to pass the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act.

Learn More

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hillary Clinton Charges University $225,000 for Speech on High Cost of Tuition


Only Hillary Clinton can take a $225,000 speaking fee from a public university and then, in the speech, lament how high the cost of higher education is.
“Higher education shouldn’t be a privilege for those able to afford it,” she said, seeming to not grasp that one reason tuition may be high is that universities think it’s a good idea to spend nearly a quarter of a million dollars to pay a multimillionaire to speak on campus.

more at  http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot/390232/clinton-charges-university-225000-speech-high-cost-tuition-jim-geraghty

Nashville Police Chief: Secret Service attempted use of fake warrant to enter home of Obama critic

Meet 5 year old Inas Khalil. She was murdered today by an Israeli settler near Ramallah, Palestine.




Jewish settler runs over two Palestinian children in West Bank, killing one

The Death of a Reporter: Serena Shim, 1984-2014.


by VIJAY PRASHAD
My twitter feed has become a memorial for the death of journalists from Iraq to Turkey. The latest tragedy was the death of Serena Shim, a US citizen who is of Lebanese origin and worked for Press TV. Last year I had met Serena in Beirut. It is commonplace for journalists to meet each other, to learn where one has been and whether there are stories out there that help give wider context and confirmation for stories that one follows. It was in that context that I met Serena, who had been covering the conflict in Ukraine, Iraq and of course Lebanon. She was a warm person, very smart and very well informed. Her bravery impressed me. Others of her ilk and of her age bracket include the fabulous Radwan Mortada (al-Akhbar) and Jenan Moussa (al-Ain). These are reporters who go into dangerous situations with no “security advisors” – I worry for them daily.
Ten days ago, Serena’s employer Press TV sent her to Turkey to cover the story of the Kobane conflict and to look into the allegations of Turkish help to the Islamic State. This is a story that takes one to Urfa, a city that is linked to Syria through the border crossing at Akçakale. At Urfa’s Balıklıgöl State Hospital, evidence for the treatment of Islamic State fighters is not camouflaged – it is there in plain sight. The Islamic State wounded from the battle of Kobane cross over for treatment here. Any journalist who covered this aspect of the war knows that Turkish intelligence (Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı) has been mighty skittish about the story. They are quick to show up, and quick to make gestures of ill will.
On Friday, October 17, Serena went on air for Press TV. She was rattled in the broadcast. Serena said that Turkish intelligence officials had accused her of spying. She had reported that Islamic State fighters had been smuggled over the border in trucks with logos from the World Food Organization. No one had seen this before or made such allegations. It came to the heart of the suspicion of various forms of assistance being provided to the Islamic State through Turkey. Barzan Iso, a Syrian Kurdish journalist, had already reported that Qatari charities have been using the Jarabulus crossing to get aid to the Islamic State. I had also reported on this but did not have any evidence that trucks with logos from international organizations were being used for this purpose.
serena shim
From the Turkish towns of Mardin, Kilis and Urfa, the foreign jihadis made an easy transit into Syria. Until recently, Turkish authorities did not try to hide this “rat line.” Oğuzeli Airport in Gaziantep (Turkey) had come to resemble the old airport in Peshawar (Pakistan), as the bearded wonders disembarked with a glint in their eyes to join what they saw as a holy war. Pakistani intelligence had the same steel in their walk as Turkish intelligence – the parallels seemed to me more and more appropriate when a Kurdish commander told me that the Islamic State is to Turkey as the Taliban is to Pakistan.
In her last broadcast via Skype, Serena told Press TV that she had footage of the IS militants making across the border in broad daylight. The pressure from Turkish intelligence worried her. Reporters Without Borders had called Turkey the “largest prison for journalists.” Because of that she said, “I’m a little bit frightened.” She felt that the pressure had come for her forthright reports from Turkey about the war in Syria.
Two days later, on Sunday, Serena was traveling in a rental car from the border to the town of Suruç, when her car collided with a “heavy vehicle,” likely a cement mixer. The driver and truck vanished. Serena was killed. Her cameraman was injured and is now at Suruç State Hospital.
Turkish authorities say that the driver of the cement mixer has been arrested. An investigation is ongoing.
Serena’s name joins a long list of journalists killed in the war in Iraq-Syria – the Islamic State murdered Mohanad al-Akidi and Raad Mohamed al-Azzawi this month. This was in Iraq.
The Kobane fight has raised tensions in Turkey. It has threatened the “Imrali Process,” a peace negotiation between the Turkish government and the Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK). Protests inside Turkey for action to defend Kobane resulted in the death of at least thirty people. Pressure has also come on the pro-Kurdish media. On October 2, demonstrators in the town of Diyarbakir attacked four reporters for the pro-Kurdish press – Bisar Durgut and Nihat Kutlu of the daily Azadiya Welat and Beritan Canözer and Sarya Gözüglu of JINHA. Bisar Durgut had eight stab wounds. On 14 October, in Turkey’s Adana, Kadri Bagdu was shot dead by two men on a motorcycle as he distributed the Kurdish daily papers Azadiya Welat and Ozgur Gundem.
Serena Shim, who leaves behind a family that includes her two young children, found herself chasing the truth in a highly charged situation. Evidence that Turkey is assisting the Islamic State is awkward for Ankara. It is as awkward as the evidence of collusion between al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Navy uncovered by my friend and Asia Times colleague Saleem Shahzad (1970-2011). He was killed for his fearless journalism. It is my feeling that Serena met Saleem’s fate.
Vijay Prashad is the author of No Free Left: The Futures of Indian Communism (forthcoming from LeftWord Books, New Delhi). He is a contributor to Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence.
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Stunning federal corruption case moving forward with almost no media attention

Corrupt federal prosecutors presenting false evidence in order to shake down a blameless corporation and bring in tens of millions of dollars seems like a pretty dramatic story. Especially when former prosecutors support the charge and a chief judge acts on the allegations and takes dramatic action. Yet the media silence is deafening.
Eric Holder’s Justice Department is implicated in a dramatic and shocking case of alleged corruption that is so bad that the Chief Judge of the Eastern District of California has taken what can rightly be called the “nuclear option” and recused all the judges in the district from the case because they may have been defrauded by the DoJ prosecutors.
So far, aside from the local paper, the Sacramento Bee, it is only Sidney Powell of the New York Observer, writing in the opinion pages of that publication that has paid attention to what should be a prominent national media scandal. In brief, the Sierra Pacific Industries, a lumber producer, was accused by the federal government of starting a large wildfire, and fined $55 million, and compelled to hand over title to 22,500 acres of land. The only problem is that the prosecution was allegedly corrupt, and knowingly submitted false evidence.
In an extraordinary development, Judge England, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, ordered the recusal of all the Eastern District judges from the case because of serious allegations that the Court itself was defrauded by the government in the original prosecution. To avoid any appearance of partiality, he has referred the case to Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski to appoint a judge from outside the Eastern District to handle the case going forward. Judge Kozinski has excoriated prosecutors for failing to meet their legal and ethical obligations.

more at http://www.americanthinker.com