Archive for the ‘Police state USSA’ Category

Federal government lists are vulnerable to inaccuracy, and misuse by politicians to push political agendas. The proposal to use the no-fly list as the basis for stripping U.S. citizens of constitutional rights is a case in point. Regardless of one’s position on gun control, using a secret government process to tinker with the Bill of Rights is wrong, and very dangerous.

“What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon?” President Obama recently asked, suggesting falsely the no-fly list is a list of known terrorists, inferring that using it would have made a difference in San Bernardino, although the names of neither of the San Bernardino terrorists appeared on it. In his exploitation of yet another terrible gun tragedy, the president has created a false argument, politician-speak, internally consistent, but based on untruths. Who indeed would argue for allowing terrorists to buy semi-automatic weapons?

The problem is not people the president would have you believe want terrorists to have guns, but politicians, lacking imagination, who want to use a flawed, unreliable, secret government process to brand U.S. citizens as terrorists, without a court hearing, and then deny them their constitutional rights.

The no-fly list is demonstrably inaccurate, a product of subjective decision-making, using the lowest possible legal standard of proof, to identify people “reasonably suspected to have engaged in terrorism or related activities.” The courts recognize the standard, but it is not enough to arrest or indict anyone, or even get a search warrant, much less a criminal conviction. It’s best described as gut instinct, the kind that allows a police officer who sees something not quite right to stop people briefly, and question them about what’s going on. The president would use gut instinct to tinker with fundamental freedoms.

There is no shortage of stories about Americans wronged by the no-fly list: children under 5, a Marine returning from Iraq, a brigadier general, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Rep. John Lewis, Rep. John Young, reputable journalists, outspoken political figures, the list goes on and on. In some cases, the mistake is so egregious that it helps the victim to muscle their way through an opaque bureaucracy to get off the list, but that is not true for most folks. For them, redress is virtually nonexistent, a fact recognized as a violation of the Constitution by at least two federal courts. A classified government document, leaked in 2014, showed that about 40 percent of people on the watch list had “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.” This is the president’s list of “terrorist suspects.”

Read more @ The Washington Times here

Nearly a thousand times this year, an American police officer has shot and killed a civilian.

When the people hired to protect their communities end up killing someone, they can be called heroes or criminals — a judgment that has never come more quickly or searingly than in this era of viral video, body cameras and dash cams. A single bullet fired at the adrenaline-charged apex of a chase can end a life, wreck a career, spark a riot, spike racial tensions and alter the politics of the nation.

In a year-long study, The Washington Post found that the kind of incidents that have ignited protests in many U.S. communities — most often, white police officers killing unarmed black men — represent less than 4 percent of fatal police shootings. Meanwhile, The Post found that the great majority of people who died at the hands of the police fit at least one of three categories: they were wielding weapons, they were suicidal or mentally troubled, or they ran when officers told them to halt.

The Post sought to compile a record of every fatal police shooting in the nation in 2015, something no government agency had done. The project began after a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014, provoking several nights of fiery riots, weeks of protests and a national reckoning with the nexus of race, crime and police use of force.

Race remains the most volatile flash point in any accounting of police shootings. Although black men make up only 6 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 40 percent of the unarmed men shot to death by police this year, The Post’s database shows. In the majority of cases in which police shot and killed a person who had attacked someone with a weapon or brandished a gun, the person who was shot was white. But a hugely disproportionate number — 3 in 5 — of those killed after exhibiting less threatening behavior were black or Hispanic.

Regardless of race, in more than a quarter of cases, the fatal encounter involved officers pursuing someone on foot or by car — making chases one of the most common scenarios in the data. Some police chiefs and training experts say more restrictive rules on when to give chase could prevent unnecessary shootings.

 

Like a growing number of police shootings, the death of David Kassick on a snow-covered field near his sister’s house in Hummelstown, Pa., was captured on video — a technological shift that has dramatically altered how Americans perceive officers’ use of deadly force.

In two minutes and 10 seconds of harrowing footage, the Kassick video serves as an almost perfect Rorschach test in the national debate over when it is justifiable for an officer to take a life.

Lots more @ WaPo here

 

On Tuesday, December 22nd, 56-year-old Kenneth Stephens was gunned down by law enforcement officers executing a no-knock raid at his Burlington, Vermont apartment.

Federal, State, and local authorities executed the warrant, reportedly looking for evidence of drug trafficking. “Officers executing the search warrant confronted a male subject inside the residence,” according to a statement from State Police official Major Glenn Hall. He continued, “Officers discharged multiple rounds at the subject, resulting in his death. None of the officers involved were injured.” According to the initial DEA complaint written by Agent Robert Estes, Stephens was suspected of having a gun in his home. Due to this information, police no doubt conducted this raid with the pretext of encountering an armed suspect.

Although police initially refused to say if Stephens was armed or had fired at officers, officials stated the following day that he had pointed a muzzle loading rifle at the band of armed gang members, but did not fire at them when they invaded his home. In response, DEA Special Agent Tim Hoffmann and Trooper Matthew Cannon fired 13 shots at the man, at least one of which missed the suspect and hit a neighbor’s home, nearly striking a resident.

This prompted Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger to request a federal investigation into the shooting. Weinberger, who was elected to a second term earlier this year, said in a statement, “I am very concerned that bullets from the law enforcement operation left Mr. Stephens’ apartment and strayed into another home.”

According to Weinberger, the DEA announced that they will vigorously investigate themselves, telling Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo,

“The DEA’s Office of Inspector General will perform a serious after-action review of this incident so that all agencies involved in protecting the public in this City can benefit from its lessons.”

Kenneth Stephens was the 1174th person killed by police in 2015. His tragic death marks the first killing of a citizen, by police, in the state of Vermont this year. One day after Kenneth’s murder, a candlelight vigil was held to commemorate his life and protest the tactics used by police.
Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/merry-christmas-police-state-cops-killed-50-states/#BM7zSTEXFHDSuw3m.99

By William N. Grigg

Douglas County, GA — Bobby Daniels was a peace officer by trade – a private security guard employed at CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta. When he learned that his emotionally troubled 25-year-old son Bias had suffered a breakdown and was holding a fellow security guard at gunpoint in a mobile home part in Douglasville, Bobby raced to the scene. Using the skills of persuasion and patient de-escalation upon which a private peace officer must rely, Bobby persuaded his son to relinquish his handgun and place it on the hood of a car.

Just seconds later, Daniels was fatally shot – not by his mentally ill son, but by the sheriff’s deputies who had arrived on the scene.

In familiar fashion, law enforcement officials insist that the victim of this police shooting – at least the 960th to occur in 2015 – was to blame, and they have provided contradictory accounts as to how it happened.

“I think that he could have been trying to help the situation instead of hurting it, but when he pointed the gun at the officers, he was shot,” asserted Douglas County Sheriff Phil Miller in remarks to reports at the scene shortly after the December 21 incident.

A different official account provided by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation claims that as Bobby and Bias struggled over control of the gun, deputies attempted to incapacitate the younger man with a taser.

“As the fight continued between Bias and Bobby, the handgun was pointed at the deputies, at which point one of the deputy [sic] fired, striking and killing Bobby,” according to the GBI.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that my officer thought his life was in danger, and he did what he thought he had to do,” insists Sheriff Miller, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/private-peace-officer-defused-hostage-situation-shot-killed-cops-late-help/#4j9RtgQtBVLMb487.99

 

 

 

Conflict of Interest? The US Navy Has a Base in a Brutal Dictatorship with Ties to ISIS

Why Does the US Navy Have a Base in a Repressive Dictatorship Whose Govt Officials are ISIS Members?

Much has been said about the most notorious dictatorship in the Middle East and close ally of the United States. Saudi Arabia, the number 1 beheader, carries out tasks such as bombing Yemen targets, including hospitals, and helping to stamp out rebellions for neighboring US-allied dictators. In exchange for this thuggery (and the flow of oil), the Saudis receive access to some of the best weapons in the world and guarantees of the monarchy’s continued existence in the face of massive discontent.

This resentment against Western puppets that rule Gulf nations is a contributing factor in the support for terrorism. Saudi Arabia is turning out to be a hotbed of support for ISIS, which also has to do with the fact that the state-sanctioned religious clergy teaches a radical form of Islam known as Wahhabism.

The U.S. government ignores these things, along with atrocious human rights records, when it has a vested interest in the country. Indeed, the U.S. has a particular liking for brutal monarchies with rich oil reserves.

The small country of Bahrain plays an incredibly large role in American military hegemony, hosting the Navy’s Fifth Fleet and Central Command.

Prison Officials Spying on Inmates to Find Net Worth, Suing Anyone Worth Over $10K for Stay in Jail

 

With the ability to read their mail and record their phone conversations, state prisons have increasingly been filing lawsuits against inmates with over $10,000 in assets. In cases of blatant retaliation, prison officials have also been targeting inmates who won civil suits against the departments for prison beatings and denying medication.

In 1846, Michigan introduced the first correctional fee law authorizing counties to charge prisoners for the cost of medical care. According to a report released earlier this year from the Brennan Center for Justice, at least 35 states are currently authorized to charge inmates for medical treatment. And at least 43 states allow officials to charge prisoners for the cost of their own imprisonment.

While incarcerated on a drug conviction, Johnny Melton received a $31,690 settlement over the wrongful death of his mother. After learning of the settlement, the Illinois Department of Corrections sued Melton and won nearly $20,000 to cover the cost of his “care, custody, treatment or rehabilitation” during his 14 months served at the state’s Logan Correctional Center.

Paroled earlier this year, Melton entered a homeless shelter and went on food stamps before a cousin offered to help him. According to his family, Melton was destitute when he died in June.

“He didn’t have a dime,” one of Melton’s sisters, Denise Melton, told the Chicago Tribune. “We had to scuffle up money to cremate him.”
Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/state-prisons-sue-inmates-cost-incarcerating/#WhHuRZg3iQ9AXidB.99

Isolated Incident? Nine Officers Arrested After They Were Caught Running a Massive Drug Ring

A massive drug ring was recently raided in Florida, in which law enforcement officers were caught smuggling large amounts of opiate medication and meth.

Bradford County, FL – 50 people were arrested this week, in connection with a drug smuggling operation, where prescription opiates were transported into a Florida state prison, with the help of prison employees. In total, nine corrections officers were arrested in the operation, which lasted over 11 months and included multiple other arrests along the way.

The investigation was called “Operation Checkered Flag,” and it began late last year when local police were tipped off about drugs flowing into Bradford County prisons. Back in June, two conspirators that were thought to be at the head of the drug ring were arrested, both of them were corrections officers. Officer Dylan Oral Hilliard of Lawtey and Maj. Charles Gregory “Chicken Hawk” Combs were each arrested in June, but the smuggling operations still continued.

Deeper into the investigation, police discovered that it was a much larger scheme taking place, involving multiple other corrections officers.
Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/9-corrections-officers-arrested-smuggling-prescription-opiates-prison/#Cf2KyDKVSHIv0IFf.99

You just know in your bones that the NSA spied on you and shared that data with Britain’s GCHQ spy agency, right? So how can you confirm this? Through a new online tool offered by the British civil liberties group Privacy International.

Thanks to a legal victory Privacy International obtained earlier this year, the UK’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal is now required to search through data the GCHQ obtained from the NSA for information collected on anyone in the world if that person so requests it. If you request the info and the Tribunal finds something, it must let you know. The catch is you have to make the request before December 5, 2015. Privacy International has made this easy with its “Did GCHQ Illegally Spy on You?” online tool.

Earlier this year the Investigatory Powers Tribunal in the UK ruled that British intelligence services acted unlawfully when they accessed the private communications of millions of people that had been collected by the NSA under its mass-surveillance programs known as PRISM and Upstream and shared with the British spy agency. The PRISM program, which began in 2007, allowed the NSA to collect data in bulk from U.S. companies like Yahoo and Google. The Upstream program involved the collection of data from taps placed on hundreds of undersea cables outside the U.S.

The Tribunal will only search for records shared between the NSA and GCHQ prior to December 2014. And, unfortunately, it won’t reveal if the GCHQ obtained data about you on its own and/or shared it with the NSA, or if the NSA spied on you and didn’t share that data with GCHQ. The amount of data the Tribunal will search may also be limited.

“Once a claim is filed, the IPT will usually only search GCHQ’s records for unlawful activity during the year before the claim was submitted,” Privacy International notes. “What this means is that a claim submitted on 14 September 2015 would lead to records being searched for the time period between 14 September 2014 and 5 December 2014.”

There’s one other caveat about the request. The Tribunal can only search its data for information about you if you submit details such as your name, email address and phone number. Of course in submitting your email address and phone number, you’re potentially providing the British government with information it doesn’t already have about you. But, as Privacy International points out in its FAQ about the tool, there’s no way around this.

The good news is that if the tribunal does find information collected about you, GCHQ must delete that data once the investigation into your records is done, along with the request form you submitted.

Source

“There’s just no accountability today,” complains Sheriff Michael Lewis of Maryland’s Wicomico County. Sheriff Lewis was not expressing concerns over the institutionalized impunity of law enforcement officers, but rather disgust over public criticism of police by “defiant” people who “hate law enforcement,” and the fact that some school-age kids are allowed to watch TV and play video games late on school nights.

“I think there’s a complete lack of accountability with this generation that’s coming up today,” Sheriff Lewis groused to Fox News host Leland Vittert in a recent interview. “You can go into a home at 2:30, 3:00 in the morning, on a weeknight and there are kids awake and watching TV, playing video games, eating snacks out of bags on a sofa, knowing they have to be in school in a few hours,” the sheriff elaborated, his face contorted in disgust.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9uJHbXpMoU

(Video courtesy of Radley Balko.)

Bad habits of that kind on the part of teenagers may be deplorable, but the kind of police behavior to which Lewis alludes is typical of totalitarian states and much more troublesome than school-age kids wasting their time in front of game consoles.

Despite the fortunate fact that there have been fewer on-duty violent deaths of police officers so far this year than there had been at this time in 2014, Lewis retailed the idea that law enforcement officers face unprecedented deadly dangers on the job – and off-duty, as well. He informed Vittert that he had sent an e-mail to all employees of the Wicomico Sheriff’s Office instructing them to avoid wearing badges or other identifiers while off duty “to protect themselves, to protect their families.”

“I’ve never seen it like this, Leland,” Lewis intoned. “It’s a scary, scary time for law enforcement in this country.”

In addition to teenage delinquents who play videogames at scandalous hours of the early morning, Lewis added the “violent” rhetoric of police critics such as the Black Lives Matter movement to the list.

While most of the public reflexively supports the police, Lewis observed, there is “a certain segment of society that are defiant – they hate law enforcement.”

If law enforcement were a service industry, rather than an enterprise in unaccountable state coercion, the situation Lewis describes would be treated as an indictment of those who provide the service, and significant institutional changes would result. Like others in what we could call the “Only Blue Lives Really Matter” movement, however, Lewis treats expressions of “customer” dissatisfaction as evidence of criminal intent and a threat to that most important of all things, “officer safety.”

Like sheriffs Joe Arpaio of Arizona’s Maricopa County and David Clarke of Wisconsin’s Milwaukee County, Sheriff Lewis (who is also a sergeant in the Maryland State Police) has become a national media celebrity by exploiting every opportunity to defend police against criticism and denounce critics of police abuse for supposedly endangering the lives of officers. While there is no evidence of a coordinated “war” on American law enforcement officers, Lewis – who never misses an opportunity to promote that dangerously misleading view – has been waging war against property rights and individual liberties for decades as part of an “imperial mission” to suppress narcotics commerce – or rather, to profit from the pretense that it can be suppressed.
Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/tyrant-sheriff-blames-fake-war-cops-a-complete-lack-accountability-citizens/#LzsgPMTIX1IXVZ6V.99

“So you’re a Constitutionalist? We’ve had problems with this before!”

Long Valley, CA — Last month, the Feinman family was driving through a constitutionally questionable interstate checkpoint. This checkpoint is not on the US/Mexican border; it is along Highway 395N between California and Nevada.

When driving through these in-country checkpoints, you are not required to answer the agent’s questions (usually starting with “Are you a United States citizen?”). Nor are you required to consent to any searches.

As the Feinman’s drove through, they refused to be unlawfully searched, citing their 4th Amendment right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The agents, however, could have cared less about the Feinman’s rights, stating at one point that “this is my job.”

When the family refuses to back down, government force is escalated, and police officers are called in to violate the Feinmans even further.

As Mr. Feinman asserts his rights, he is threatened with being pulled out of the vehicle and having his children taken from him by CPS.

Mr. Feinman says he’d like to go, but these officers are determined to extort money from him (issue a citation) for flexing his rights. When he asks the cops if they swore an oath to defend the constitution, the cop asks, “So you’re a Constitutionalist?”

When Feinman confirms that he is a constitutionalist, the officer responds, “We’ve had problems with this before.”

At around the 13-minute mark, Feinman is issued an ultimatum, submit or have your window broken and we kidnap your entire family. During the process, these officers acted as if it were Feinman’s fault when all he was doing was refusing an illegal search.

Police acted as if some magical force compelled them to have to break the window and drag a family out of their vehicle. However, the fact of the matter is, they could have just let them travel freely.

Eventually, the window is smashed out, and all occupants were arrested, and the child was taken by CPS. According to the Feinman’s, they were then given an excessive bail amount to get out of jail.

This entire incident was over Mr. Feinman not wanting to be searched at the checkpoint. Referring to an illegal search as an “inspection” does not change the reality of the act.

What this video below highlights is the only tool the state has to force you to comply with their revenue generating and rights-violating police state measures — violent escalation. Comply or we kidnap, cage, or kill you.

By John W. Whitehead
August 24, 2015

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”—Martin Luther King Jr.

There’s an ill will blowing across the country. The economy is tanking. The people are directionless, and politics provides no answer. And like former regimes, the militarized police have stepped up to provide a façade of law and order manifested by an overt violence against the citizenry.

Despite the revelations of the past several years, nothing has changed to push back against the American police state. Our freedoms—especially the Fourth Amendment—continue to be choked out by a prevailing view among government bureaucrats that they have the right to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.

Despite the recent outrage and protests, nothing has changed to restore us to our rightful role as having dominion over our bodies, our lives and our property, especially when it comes to interactions with the government.

Forced cavity searches, forced colonoscopies, forced blood draws, forced breath-alcohol tests, forced DNA extractions, forced eye scans, forced inclusion in biometric databases—these are just a few ways in which Americans continue to be reminded that we have no control over what happens to our bodies during an encounter with government officials. Thus far, the courts have done little to preserve our Fourth Amendment rights, let alone what shreds of bodily integrity remain to us.

Indeed, on a daily basis, Americans are being forced to relinquish the most intimate details of who we are—our biological makeup, our genetic blueprints, and our biometrics (facial characteristics and structure, fingerprints, iris scans, etc.)—in order to clear the nearly insurmountable hurdle that increasingly defines life in the United States.

In other words, we are all guilty until proven innocent.

Worst of all, it seems as if nothing will change as long as the American people remain distracted by politics, divided by their own prejudices, and brainwashed into believing that the Constitution still reigns supreme as the law of the land, when in fact, we have almost completed the shift into fascism.

In other words, despite our occasional bursts of outrage over abusive police practices, sporadic calls for government reform, and periodic bouts of awareness that all is not what it seems, the police state continues to march steadily onward.

Such is life in America today that individuals are being threatened with arrest and carted off to jail for the least hint of noncompliance, homes are being raided by police under the slightest pretext, and roadside police stops have devolved into government-sanctioned exercises in humiliation and degradation with a complete disregard for privacy and human dignity.

Consider, for example, what happened to Charnesia Corley after allegedly being pulled over by Texas police for “rolling” through a stop sign. Claiming they smelled marijuana, police handcuffed Corley, placed her in the back of the police cruiser, and then searched her car for almost an hour. They found nothing in the car.

As the Houston Chronicle reported:

Returning to his car where Corley was held, the deputy again said he smelled marijuana and called in a female deputy to conduct a cavity search. When the female deputy arrived, she told Corley to pull her pants down, but Corley protested because she was cuffed and had no underwear on. The deputy ordered Corley to bend over, pulled down her pants and began to search her. Then…Corley stood up and protested, so the deputy threw her to the ground and restrained her while another female was called in to assist. When backup arrived, each deputy held one of Corley’s legs apart to conduct the probe.

As shocking and disturbing as it seems, Corley’s roadside cavity search is becoming par for the course in an age in which police are taught to have no respect for the citizenry’s bodily integrity.

For instance, 38-year-old Angel Dobbs and her 24-year-old niece, Ashley, were pulled over by a Texas state trooper on July 13, 2012, allegedly for flicking cigarette butts out of the car window. Insisting that he smelled marijuana, he proceeded to interrogate them and search the car. Despite the fact that both women denied smoking or possessing any marijuana, the police officer then called in a female trooper, who carried out a roadside cavity search, sticking her fingers into the older woman’s anus and vagina, then performing the same procedure on the younger woman, wearing the same pair of gloves. No marijuana was found.

David Eckert was forced to undergo an anal cavity search, three enemas, and a colonoscopy after allegedly failing to yield to a stop sign at a Wal-Mart parking lot. Cops justified the searches on the grounds that they suspected Eckert was carrying drugs because his “posture [was] erect” and “he kept his legs together.” No drugs were found.

Leila Tarantino was subjected to two roadside strip searches in plain view of passing traffic during a routine traffic stop, while her two children—ages 1 and 4—waited inside her car. During the second strip search, presumably in an effort to ferret out drugs, a female officer “forcibly removed” a tampon from Tarantino. Nothing illegal was found. Nevertheless, such searches have been sanctioned by the courts, especially if accompanied by a search warrant (which is easily procured), as justified in the government’s pursuit of drugs and weapons.

Meanwhile, four Milwaukee police officers were charged with carrying out rectal searches of suspects on the street and in police district stations over the course of several years. One of the officers was accused of conducting searches of men’s anal and scrotal areas, often inserting his fingers into their rectums and leaving some of his victims with bleeding rectums. Halfway across the country, the city of Oakland, California, agreed to pay $4.6 million to 39 men who had their pants pulled down by police on city streets between 2002 and 2009.

It’s gotten so bad that you don’t even have to be suspected of possessing drugs to be subjected to a strip search.

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Florence v. Burlison, any person who is arrested and processed at a jail house, regardless of the severity of his or her offense (i.e., they can be guilty of nothing more than a minor traffic offense), can be subjected to a strip search by police or jail officials without reasonable suspicion that the arrestee is carrying a weapon or contraband.

Examples of minor infractions which have resulted in strip searches include: individuals arrested for driving with a noisy muffler, driving with an inoperable headlight, failing to use a turn signal, riding a bicycle without an audible bell, making an improper left turn, engaging in an antiwar demonstration (the individual searched was a nun, a Sister of Divine Providence for 50 years). Police have also carried out strip searches for passing a bad check, dog leash violations, filing a false police report, failing to produce a driver’s license after making an illegal left turn, having outstanding parking tickets, and public intoxication. A failure to pay child support can also result in a strip search.

It must be remembered that the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was intended to prevent government agents from searching an individual’s person or property without a warrant and probable cause (evidence that some kind of criminal activity was afoot). While the literal purpose of the amendment is to protect our property and our bodies from unwarranted government intrusion, the moral intention behind it is to protect our human dignity.

Unfortunately, the indignities being heaped upon us by the architects and agents of the American police state—whether or not we’ve done anything wrong—don’t end with roadside strip searches. They’re just a foretaste of what is to come.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the government doesn’t need to strip you naked by the side of the road in order to render you helpless. It has other methods, less subtle perhaps but equally humiliating, devastating and mind-altering, of stripping you of your independence, robbing you of your dignity, and undermining your rights.

With every court ruling that allows the government to operate above the rule of law, every piece of legislation that limits our freedoms, and every act of government wrongdoing that goes unpunished, we’re slowly being conditioned to a society in which we have little real control over our lives. As Rod Serling, creator of the Twilight Zone and an insightful commentator on human nature, once observed, “We’re developing a new citizenry. One that will be very selective about cereals and automobiles, but won’t be able to think.”

Indeed, not only are we developing a new citizenry incapable of thinking for themselves, we’re also instilling in them a complete and utter reliance on the government and its corporate partners to do everything for them—tell them what to eat, what to wear, how to think, what to believe, how long to sleep, who to vote for, whom to associate with, and on and on.

In this way, we have created a welfare state, a nanny state, a police state, a surveillance state, an electronic concentration camp—call it what you will, the meaning is the same: in our quest for less personal responsibility, a greater sense of security, and no burdensome obligations to each other or to future generations, we have created a society in which we have no true freedom.

Government surveillance, police abuse, SWAT team raids, economic instability, asset forfeiture schemes, pork barrel legislation, militarized police, drones, endless wars, private prisons, involuntary detentions, biometrics databases, free speech zones, etc.: these are mile markers on the road to a fascist state where citizens are treated like cattle, to be branded and eventually led to the slaughterhouse.

If there is any hope to be found it will be found in local, grassroots activism. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., it’s time for “militant nonviolent resistance.”

First, however, Americans must break free of the apathy-inducing turpor of politics, entertainment spectacles and manufactured news. Only once we are free of the chains that bind us—or to be more exact, the chains that “blind” us—can we become actively aware of the injustices taking place around us and demand freedom of our oppressors.

Source

After filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department (CPD), The Guardian has discovered over 3,600 people have been detained at a secure facility known as Homan Square. Notorious for allegedly denying access to defense attorneys and committing human rights abuses, the officers at this CIA-style black site have been accused of coercing confessions, committing torture, and shackling detainees for prolonged periods. Although the CPD has denied these accusations, the department has been marred with a history of abuse and corruption.

On February 24, The Guardian exposed a police detention facility in Chicago where arrestees were kept out of official booking databases, denied legal representation, and endured hours of physical and psychological abuse. After the CPD ignored several FOIA requests regarding their facility at Homan Square, The Guardian filed a lawsuit against the department in April requesting further information, including the number of people detained at Homan Square and video evidence of interrogations at the site.

The CPD has recently revealed that at least 3,621 people have been detained at Homan Square for crimes ranging from drinking in public to murder. Although Chicago’s population is 33% black and 32% white according to the 2010 U.S. census, over 82% of the disclosed Homan Square arrests consist of black residents. Only 8.5% of the detainees were white, while 6.7% were Hispanic.

“When I was a detective, occasionally I would arrest a white person,” recalled Lorenzo Davis, a former police detective who commanded a unit at Homan Square, “and the white detectives would be overly interested in why I was arresting someone white.”

According to the CPD, only three arrestees received visits from their lawyers between September 2004 and July 2015. In its investigation, The Guardian documented an additional eight times that attorneys were present at Homan Square. In four instances, lawyers accompanied their clients to Homan to turn themselves in to authorities. Two lawyers were allowed interviews with their clients, while in at least two other cases, attorneys assert that they were refused access to their clients.

In January 2013, Eliza Solowiej of Chicago’s First Defense Legal Aid attempted to contact a client who had been detained at Homan Square. According to the attorney, officers changed her client’s name in the booking database before transferring him to the site at Homan Square. She finally located him after her client had been transported to a hospital with a head injury.

“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 recalled. “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.”

In September 2013, Chicago attorney Julia Bartmes was denied access to a 15-year-old boy detained within the Homan Square facility. After interrogating the teenager for at least 12 hours, the CPD released her client without charges.

On May 16, 2012, the CPD arrested Brian Jacob Church, a protester known as one of the “NATO 3,” and detained him at Homan Square. Instead of entering Church’s arrest into an official booking database, officers reportedly left his wrist cuffed to a bench with his legs shackled together for approximately 17 hours. Denying him access to his attorney, the police repeatedly interrogated Church without informing him of his Miranda rights to remain silent. In April 2014, Church and his two co-defendants were convicted of possessing an incendiary device and misdemeanor mob action, but they were acquitted of the terrorism-related charges.

On October 20, 2012, CPD officers detained Angel Perez at Homan Square to convince him to turn into a police informant. According to a lawsuit filed by Perez, officers Jorge Lopez and Edmund Zablocki anally raped him with a gun to coerce his cooperation.

In September 2011, Jose Martinez was allegedly cuffed to a bench for nine hours at Homan Square without food, water, or the use of a restroom before being booked at an actual police station. In August 2006, Estephanie Martinez had to relieve herself in a Homan Square interrogation room when a guard repeatedly refused to take her to the bathroom. On February 6, Calvin Coffey defecated on the floor of an interrogation room after guards refused his requests to go to the bathroom for over two hours. According to his lawsuit, Coffey was ordered to clean it up with his skull cap.

Although the CPD denies any wrongdoing, the department has a history of torturing suspects in order to obtain false confessions. Between 1972 and 1991, Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and his men tortured hundreds of people to extract forced confessions from them. Convicted of perjury in 2010, Burge only spent four years in prison due to the fact that the statute of limitations prevents prosecutors from charging him and his fellow officers with multiple counts of torture. After costing Chicago and Cook County nearly $100 million in legal fees and settlements, Burge still receives a $4,000 monthly pension from the city.

Former Chicago homicide detective and Guantanamo Bay interrogator, Richard Zuley, was slapped with multiple lawsuits alleging he coerced confessions, threatened suspects’ family members, planted evidence, and committed torture. After retiring from the department, Zuley was assigned to interrogate Guantanamo detainee, Mohammedou Ould Slahi. According to Slahi’s testimony, Zuley tortured him, subjected him to mock executions, and threatened to bring Slahi’s mother to Guantanamo to rape her.

Since Rahm Emanuel assumed the office of mayor on May 16, 2011, at least 2,522 people have been detained at Homan Square. According to current police data, roughly 70% of the Homan Square detentions have taken place under Emanuel’s term. Additional FOIA requests have been filed requesting communications between the CPD and the mayor’s office regarding Homan Square.
Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/foia-lawsuit-reveals-3600-americans-detained-cia-style-black-site-homan-square/#BBbeVPjGiSrmw5Y3.99