United States ‘security’ spying on Ferguson demonstrators


This video from the USA says about itself:

Ferguson Activists Ashley Yates & Tory Russell: The System Wasn’t Made To Protect Us

15 October 2014

Ferguson activists Ashley Yates of Millennial Activists United and Tory Russell of Hands Up United stop by GlobalGrind to discuss how the youth are leading the movement to end police violence and how politicians working with a broken system that doesn’t value black lives aren’t the ones effecting change.

By Jason Leopold in the USA:

The DHS Planned to ‘Plug’ Federal Officers Into the Ferguson Protests, Documents Show

July 21, 2015 | 9:15 pm

As the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri considered whether to indict police officer Darren Wilson over the shooting death last August of unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was working on a plan to “plug” federal officers into protests to “perform surveillance” and “collect intelligence in the crowd.”

The disclosure is contained in more than 700 pages of documents VICE News obtained from DHS in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, and comes just a couple of weeks before the one-year anniversary of Brown’s death, which helped spark national debate about the targeting of African Americans by police.

It’s unclear, however, whether DHS executed the plan. Some information in the documents was withheld on grounds that it would reveal law enforcement techniques, procedures, and trade secrets, or potentially endanger the life of an individual, DHS said.

Kade Crockford, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union‘s Technology for Liberty project, told VICE News that sending officers into protests “to spy on dissidents is both relatively routine and extremely problematic.”

“The First Amendment protects our right to criticize the government and agitate for social and political change, and this kind of law enforcement activity directly threatens that right,” she said. “DHS’s choice to spend taxpayer dollars spying on today’s black civil rights activists shows that federal law enforcement continues to view black people’s demands for basic rights and equality as somehow threatening.

“Congress or inspectors general of the FBI and DHS should investigate how federal law enforcement agencies have been spending precious government resources keeping track of activists. The results of such investigations should be made public so we have a more complete picture of how and where the Feds are dedicating funds and staff to monitoring black dissidents in the wake of Ferguson.”

Protesters raised concerns at the time on social media about the presence of DHS vehicles at the protests. It is not uncommon for DHS and other federal law enforcement agencies to keep tabs on protests, particularly in cities where federal buildings and parks are located (St. Louis has both). But it has become increasingly clear over the years, internal government documents show, that federal law enforcement also views such high-profile protests as a possible breeding ground for domestic terrorist activity and a good source of intelligence.

The deployment of DHS officers to Ferguson and St. Louis was a reunion of sorts. “Looks like we are working together again,” one officer remarked to another in an email. “Long time since [Hurricane] Katrina. LOL.”

The cache of documents, although heavily redacted, reveal that DHS had stocked up on batons and shields due to concerns that protests could quickly turn violent in the aftermath of the grand jury’s decision. Officers who were being deployed to Missouri were required to go through new “training” to learn how to handle themselves if riots broke out. The documents also reveal that DHS suspected that its operational plans for confronting the protests would attract negative attention from the public and the media.

The fears of riots were so heightened that DHS officials barred officers from scheduling vacation and taking time off in order to make certain personnel could be present and on call in Ferguson.

In an attempt to thwart the release of information, an employee with DHS’s National Protection and Programs Directorate distributed an email on November 11, 2014 reminding personnel to mark all electronic communications “for official use only” because of “recent events and FOIA requests.” (Though “for official use only” is not an official security classification, government agencies use it as a protective marking to exempt documents from public disclosure.) DHS personnel were also instructed to be mindful of their own social media posts about the protests and Brown’s death, as they could be a “hindrance or burden if the wrong thing is said/typed.”

The emails also reveal that in anticipation of a grand jury decision, the deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Security Division made a decision to deploy dozens of “FBI police officers” to St. Louis to “enhance the protection of the FBI St. Louis Field Office.”

FBI police officers are different than FBI agents. The police officers are uniformed members of the bureau who are tasked with protecting FBI facilities; they have limited law enforcement powers.

“The deployed FBI police will only be responsible for the protection of their facility,” said a November 6, 2014 email whose sender’s name was redacted. But DHS also provided the FBI with a “short-term (30-day) Delegation of Law Enforcement Authority to provide the deployed FBI Police Officers with legal authority should they become involved in a law enforcement action.”

The documents reveal that DHS received “intelligence” — largely based on a Fox News report — and subsequently investigated claims that Muslims had “co-opted” the protests in Ferguson.

“Have you seen this line of reporting before?” a Federal Protective Service employee wrote in a November 18, 2014 email. “Do you think Ferguson is becoming attractive to [redacted, though likely a reference to a terrorist group]? Any insight would be appreciated.”

The Fox News report focused on how the Council of American and Islamic Relations (CAIR) was trying to raise awareness about the 2009 shooting death of Luqman Ameen Abdullah, an imam at a Detroit mosque. The right-wing think tank Center for Security Policy alleged in a report, which Fox News cited, that Muslim groups like CAIR had “ulterior motives” for joining in the protests.

The documents do not reveal how DHS followed up on the claim.

The Department of Homeland Security has been monitoring the Black Lives Matter movement since anti-police protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri last summer, according to hundreds of documents obtained by The Intercept through a Freedom of Information Act request: here.

USA: Members of the National Bar Association called on black lawyers to advocate for victims and protesters of police brutality by representing them in civil cases and pushing for reforms of the criminal justice system: here.

Racist Charleston church massacre, reactions


This video from the USA says about itself:

Shooting Victim’s Friend Blames Fox News ‘Hate Speech’ for Charleston Church Massacre

18 June 2015

Friend of Charleston Victim: Fox News ‘Hate Speech’ a Potential Influence

Todd Rutherford, a South Carolina state legislator and a friend of one of the victims, spoke out on CNN this afternoon about how “the rhetoric in South Carolina, the rhetoric nationwide, has led people to believe… that it’s okay to walk into a church and take nine lives.”

Rutherford spoke to Jake Tapper about the Charleston church shooting and the death of his friend Reverend Clementa Pinckney.

He said that South Carolina is part of the problem because there’s no hate crimes law and the Confederate flag flies at the capitol. Rutherford referred to networks using “coded language” before calling out one network in particular:

“[The gunman] hears that because he watches the news and he watches things like Fox News, where they talk about things that they call news, but they’re really not. They use that coded language, they use hate speech, they talk about the president as if he’s not the president, they talk about churchgoers that they’re not really churchgoers. And that’s what this young man acted on. That’s why you can walk into a church and treat people like animals when they’re really human beings.”

Related: update: Gunman Dylann Storm Roof, 21, spares 1 woman telling her: ‘tell the world what happened’. Gunman to Victims: ‘You Rape Our Women’

The gunman who killed nine people during a Bible study meeting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, spewed a message of hate. Sylvia Johnson—a cousin of church pastor Clementa Pinckney, who was killed in the attack—says a survivor told her the gunman reloaded five times. “He just said ‘I have to do it,’” Johnson reports the survivor saying. “‘You rape our women and you’re taking over the country. You have to go.’”

Earlier, a local NAACP official said the killer told one woman, who has not been identified, that she was allowed to live so that she can tell everyone else what happened. Police confirmed that at least three people survived the attack, and that the gunman sat with the prayer group for at least an hour before he began to shoot. The FBI has named Dylann Storm Roof, 21, of Columbia, South Carolina as the suspected killer of nine people at a black church in Charleston. Roof was previously arrested on April 26 on a trespassing charge and was awaiting moderation. His sparse Facebook page shows an image of Roof in a jacket with the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia, which was an apartheid state before it became Zimbabwe.

By David Walsh in the USA:

The mass killing in Charleston, South Carolina

19 June 2015

The mass killing of six women and three men at an African American church in Charleston, South Carolina Wednesday evening is a horrific event that speaks to a deeply dysfunctional and diseased society.

The alleged gunman, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, of Columbia, South Carolina, was apparently motivated by racist and right-wing nationalist sentiments. He reportedly told those he was about to shoot in cold blood, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country, and you have to go.”

On his Facebook profile page, Roof included a photograph of himself wearing a jacket with badges representing the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the 1928 South African flag in particular has been adopted around the world in right-wing circles “as a symbol of white supremacy.”

The response of the political establishment in general has been hypocritical and empty to an obscene extent. Whatever the immediate political or psychological driving forces behind Roof’s alleged action, such a killing emerges in a specific political and social context.

The most obvious hypocrisy came from leading political figures in South Carolina. Various individuals associated with the South Carolina Republican Party have been exposed as members of the blatantly racist Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), the descendant of the old White Citizens Council, the “respectable” version of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1950s and 1960s.

South Carolina’s Republican Governor Nikki Haley declared Thursday that the state’s “heart and soul…was broken” by the mass killing. In 2014 she defended the flying of the Confederate flag at the statehouse on the grounds that “not a single CEO” had complained to her.

In his statement, President Barack Obama expressed on Thursday his “deep sorrow over the senseless murders” in Charleston. Obama continued, “Any death of this sort is a tragedy. Any shooting involving multiple victims is a tragedy.” The president suggested that “At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.”

Yes, but at which point exactly? Obama, like his predecessors George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, has had to make this sort of ceremonial appearance following a killing rampage on numerous occasions. If the president needs reminding about what has occurred during his administration alone, one could point to the April 2009 massacre of 13 people at a civic center for immigrants in Binghamton, New York; the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabby Giffords and the killing of six other people in Tucson, Arizona in January 2011; the mass killing at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater in July 2012; the murder of six people and wounding of four others at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin in August 2012 by a white supremacist; the killing of 26 people, including 20 children, in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012; and there are many more.

Following each killing, one portion of the media, looking to Scripture for its inspiration, asserts that the tragedy proves the existence of “evil” and presumably Man’s Fallen Nature; another, more officially liberal-minded, claims that gun control will somehow mysteriously solve everything; a third sighs over the “senselessness” of it all and collectively shrugs its shoulders. The cluelessness of the official punditry is one indication of the moral and political bankruptcy of the American social order.

There is, of course, an irrational element in each of these tragic episodes, including the most recent one. Roof apparently let one elderly woman live because, he told her, “I need someone to survive,” indicating that he planned to kill himself, “And you’ll be the only survivor.”

But the claim by the media that such mass killings are incomprehensible is a self-serving lie. The commentators, along with Obama and the political officialdom, cannot and will not “reckon with” the phenomenon because even to begin probing the various massacres would be to lift the lid on the reality of American life and, above all, the atmosphere of unrelenting violence and aggression that has been generated by two decades or more of almost nonstop war.

The alleged actions of Roof, who was obviously unbalanced and disoriented and came under the influence of pro-Confederate and white supremacist propaganda, have a racist coloring. But, changing what must be changed, is there much of a difference in terms of social type between the Charleston suspect and the young killers at Columbine High School in 1999; or Seung-Hui Cho, the South Korean immigrant, who murdered 32 people and wounded 17 others on the Virginia Tech campus in April 2007; or James Eagan Holmes, the Aurora, Colorado shooter, and the various others?

What psychological and sociological features do the various perpetrators share in common? A highly advanced state of social alienation, great bitterness at other human beings, self-hatred, isolation, general despondency and the recourse to extreme violence to solve their real or imagined problems.

These tendencies recur too often and too devastatingly to be mere personal failings; they clearly come from the broader society. They reflect a terrible malaise, the mentality of individuals living perpetually under a dark cloud, who have no hope for the future, who can only imagine that things will get worse. Only look at the Facebook photograph of Dylann Roof if you want some idea of this bleakness and despondency!

The generation to which Roof belongs, unlike any other in American history, has known nothing but the combination of war and the building up of immense social inequality. If one sets aside with contempt the media’s fantasy version of American life, in which things have never been better—and, after all, don’t young people have Facebook, Twitter and iPhones?—no generation in modern times has experienced such harsh and discouraging circumstances. Capitalism, the subordination of every aspect of life to the drive for profit and personal wealth by the corporate elite, is at the heart of the problem.

The American ruling elite would have us believe that endless war, belligerence, aggression and threats of new, more catastrophic wars, part of the drive for US global domination, have no consequences. Violence and killing on the part of the American military or intelligence apparatus is a daily occurrence. US officials and politicians, mafia-like, blandly discuss “killing” alleged terrorists or “eliminating threats” to “America’s national interests.” Murder, whether by drone or other efficient modern means, has become routinized, banal. The president, as we know, meets with his advisers every Tuesday, to go over “kill lists.”

Someone like Roof, if he turns out to be the culprit, has known nothing but this expanding and escalating violence all his life. And not only violence overseas. Police in the US have been given a green light to open fire and kill innocent civilians. Only two months ago, in North Charleston, South Carolina, less than 10 miles from the scene of Wednesday night’s mass killings, a local police officer murdered Walter Scott in cold blood with five bullets in the back.

The crisis of American society is reaching a breaking point. It cannot go on like this. Roof’s is the unhealthy, twisted response of an infinitesimal portion of his generation. Masses of young people and masses of working people will respond to the crisis in a rational, progressive manner, by turning against the criminals and liars in power and their rotten economic and social system.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:

[Mass murder suspect] Roof had complained recently that “black people are taking over the world”, a former high school friend of his says. Someone should do something against that, according to Roof. He also supported racial segregation, according to the friend.

Roof had told the friend recently that he had bought a weapon with the money which he had got for his birthday. He also said he had a plan, but Roof did not say what that plan was.

CHARLESTON GUNMAN PLANNED ATTACK ‘FOR MONTHS’ “Dylann Roof’s roommate says the suspect was planning something big leading up to the alleged shooting at a South Carolina church Wednesday that left nine people dead. Dalton Tyler told ABC News that he’d known Roof for at least seven months, and that the 21-year-old was ‘planning something like that for six months.'” Here’s why the flags Roof is wearing in his Facebook profile picture matter. And watch President Obama discuss the horrific episode. [Andy Campbell, HuffPost]

MEET THE CHARLESTON VICTIMS Hundreds stood outside the Emanuel AME Church doors yesterday to mourn the nine victims of the Charleston shooting, who ranged in age from 26 to 87. [David Lohr, HuffPost]

RACISM: NOT A MENTAL ILLNESS “When white people go on shooting sprees, their actions are frequently attributed to mental illness and, thus, they’re not considered fully accountable for the harm they’ve inflicted. This narrative — which is not afforded to people of color — feeds into the assumption that incidents like what happened at Emanuel AME Church are isolated tragedies executed by lone gunmen. Essentially, it excuses the system that allows racialized terrorism to keep happening.” [HuffPost]

As Nation Mourns Nine Black Victims of Church Massacre, Details of Suspect’s White Supremacism Emerge: here.

Ta-Nehisi Coates’ call to take down the Confederate Flag from the South Carolina Capitol.

Why don’t Americans call mass shootings ‘terrorism’? Racism: here.

MUSLIMS RALLY AROUND BLACK CHURCHES AFTER ARSON “Muslims are bringing hope to Christian communities in the South after a recent spate of fires devastated black church buildings. Three Muslim organizations have teamed up to raise money to rebuild worship centers in Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina that were destroyed by fire the past few weeks.” [HuffPost]

Rupert Murdoch empire has to retract anti-Edward Snowden smear


This 21 August 2013 video from Britain is called David Miranda on his nine-hour terror detention ordeal.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Sunday Times drops claim that Miranda met Snowden before UK detention

Allegation repeated one made in Daily Mail in September 2014, which was removed on Monday pending inquiries

Jane Martinson

Monday 15 June 2015 13.13 BST

An allegation that the partner of the former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald met Edward Snowden in Moscow before being detained at Heathrow carrying classified documents has been quietly deleted from a report in the Sunday Times.

In Sunday’s front-page story claiming Russian and Chinese authorities had gained access to the NSA files leaked by Snowden, the paper reported that David Miranda “was seized at Heathrow in 2013 in possession of 58,000 ‘highly classified’ intelligence documents after visiting Snowden in Moscow”.

Those last five words were deleted from the online version by Monday morning without explanation.

The allegation repeated one made in the Daily Mail in September 2014 which was removed on Monday “pending inquiries”, an executive at the newspaper said.

Miranda was returning from Berlin, where he had visited the film-maker Laura Poitras, when he was detained at Heathrow for nine hours.

Greenwald was the first to point out that the falsity had been dropped without any clarification. He wrote:

UPDATE: The Sunday Times has now quietly deleted one of the central, glaring lies in its story: that David Miranda had just met with Snowden in Moscow when he was detained at Heathrow carrying classified documents. By ‘quietly deleted’, I mean just that: they just removed it from their story without any indication or note to their readers that they’ve done so (though it remains in the print edition and thus requires a retraction). That’s indicative of the standard of ‘journalism’ for the article itself. Multiple other falsehoods, and all sorts of shoddy journalistic practices, remain thus far unchanged.

The Sunday Times report quoted anonymous senior officials in No 10, the Home Office and security services who said agents had to be moved because Moscow had gained access to classified information that revealed how they operate.

The erroneous allegation about Miranda visiting Snowden was first made in the Daily Mail last September. The newspaper’s website carried the allegation until 24 hours after the Sunday Times published its story.

The editors’ code of practice enforced by Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) states: “A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and – where appropriate – an apology published.”

Snowden, a former NSA contractor, handed over tens of thousands of leaked documents to the Guardian in Hong Kong two years ago. He left Hong Kong with flights booked to Latin America but was stopped in Russia when the US revoked his passport, and has been living in Moscow in exile since.

He has repeatedly said he handed over all the documents to journalists in Hong Kong and no longer has access to them, making it impossible for either China or Russia to get to them through him. The Sunday Times do not say where China or Russia allegedly gained access to the files.

Privacy campaigners questioned the timing of the Sunday Times report, coming days after the publication of a 373-page report by the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, David Anderson QC, which was commissioned by David Cameron. Anderson was highly critical of the existing system of oversight of the surveillance agencies and set out a series of recommendations for reform.

Sunday Times‘ legal threat to Glenn Greenwald is no way to stop criticism, by Jane Martinson. News UK’s attempt to prevent the Intercept founder using an image of its front page is a weak response to his attack on the paper’s Edward Snowden story: here.

UK government, Murdoch press smear of Edward Snowden unravels: here.

Rupert Murdoch’s phone hacking trial again


This video from Britain says about itself:

PHONE HACKING: ‘We thought Milly Dowler was alive’

21 November 2011

Bob and Sally Dowler tell the Leveson Inquiry that journalists at the News of the World gave them false hope after their daughter went missing. Report by Sam Datta-Paulin.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

Coulson‘s perjury trial continues

Tuesday 26th May 2015

THE trial of David Cameron’s former spin doctor Andy Coulson continued yesterday as the court was told how the one-time News of the World editor knew that the source of voicemail messages was from phone hacking.

Mr Coulson is back in court after being accused of lying under oath in 2010, during the perjury trial of former socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan.

News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck told Edinburgh High Court how Mr Coulson knew that the paper’s coverage of the Milly Dowler murder used hacked messages.

According to Mr Thurlbeck, the editor was “not initially” aware that News of the World private investigator Glenn Mulcaire was on the case.

He added that Mr Coulson only knew of Mr Mulcaire’s involvement “when Glenn came back with voicemails.”

When asked by prosecutors whether Mr Coulson ordered the recordings be taken to the police, Mr Thurlbeck said: “The short answer is no.

“I explained [to Mr Coulson] there was a source, a police source, who was revealing to us, via Glenn, the existence of these voicemails and content of them.

“I didn’t have to explain who Glenn was.”

Asked whether the decision not to go to the police was “ultimately made by Andy Coulson,” Mr Thurlbeck replied “yes.”

He added: “He trusted the source because he trusted me.”

The Prime Minister’s former director of communications previously stated he did not know of the involvement of News of the World reporters with Mr Mulcaire until the investigator’s arrest in 2006.

News of the World news editor ‘used hand signal’ to tell Andy Coulson of phone hacking. Former news editor of defunct tabloid tells court that hacking was ‘systematic’ at paper and Coulson knew about it when he was editor: here.