Democratic Rights in the US

UN panel condemns detention of WikiLeaks founder

Stop the persecution of Julian Assange!

By Bill Van Auken, 5 February 2016

Despite a ruling that Assange has been subjected to “arbitrary detention,” both the UK and Sweden vow to continue his persecution.

Albuquerque, New Mexico police murder case moves towards trial

By D. Lencho, 5 February 2016

It has been nearly two years since the March 16, 2014 fatal shooting of homeless camper James Boyd by Albuquerque police officers.

US: Georgia executes oldest inmate on its death row

By Kate Randall, 4 February 2016

The Supreme Court denied a last-minute request for a stay, clearing the way for Brandon Astor Jones’ lethal injection early Wednesday morning.

CIA planned rendition operation to kidnap Edward Snowden

By Thomas Gaist, 30 January 2016

The CIA stationed a plane in Copenhagen for the specific purpose of seizing the whistleblower, documents published by Danish media on Thursday show.

Detroit schools’ injunction against teachers: An anti-democratic attempt to crush protests

By Eric London, 23 January 2016

DPS is threatening to fire all protesting teachers, encouraging teachers to snoop on each other and employing reactionary legal arguments to attack public education.

Illinois professor fired for expressing sympathy for Muslims

By Joe Williams, 18 January 2016

Wheaton College has begun termination proceedings against Dr. Larycia Hawkins, a tenured professor who wore a hijab during the Christian Advent period to protest anti-Muslim bigotry.

Obama’s State of the Union address and the breakdown of American democracy

By Eric London and Barry Grey, 14 January 2016

There is an objective significance to the reduction of the State of the Union address, an American political tradition that goes back to George Washington, to an empty and cynical media spectacle.

Supreme Court hears arguments in union dues case

By Shannon Jones, 12 January 2016

The lawsuit targets millions of dollars in union revenue from labor agreements that compel public employees to pay a fee to a union even if they choose not to be a member.

Obama seeks Silicon Valley aid to spy on social media

By Thomas Gaist, 9 January 2016

A delegation of top Obama administration officials met with tech industry leaders Friday as part of efforts to step up government spying on social media and other online communications.

FBI arrests mentally ill Rochester man in fabricated ISIS plot

By Josh Varlin, 9 January 2016

The FBI arrested Emanuel Lutchman, a 25-year-old man with a history of mental illness, based on a supposed plot to attack a bar in Rochester, New York, on New Year’s Eve.

New Zealand court approves Kim Dotcom’s extradition to the US

By John Braddock, 8 January 2016

The ruling is a significant legal victory for the US and New Zealand’s National Party government, which has operated in concert with Washington throughout the affair.

Chicago attorney resigns after judge rules he concealed evidence in police shooting case

By Alexander Fangmann, 7 January 2016

A Senior Corporation Counsel for the city resigned after a judge sanctioned him and overturned a jury verdict that found in favor of two police officers in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Obama administration rings in new year with deportation of children

By Andre Damon, 6 January 2016

More than 100 people were taken into custody over the weekend in a series of nationwide raids targeting refugees fleeing violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Obama announces executive measures for gun control

By Tom Eley, 6 January 2016

Not even Obama claims that his proposals, which amount to a further expansion of the already vast police-intelligence apparatus, will resolve the scourge of gun violence in the US.

Justice Scalia repudiates separation of church and state

By Patrick Martin, 4 January 2016

The Supreme Court justice’s statement that there is no barrier to the US government discriminating in favor of religious believers adds to his litany of bigoted attacks on democratic rights.

After grand jury whitewash in Tamir Rice killing

More police murders across the US

By Tom Eley, 30 December 2015

Police have taken repeated exonerations, often in the face of overwhelming evidence, as in the murder of Tamir Rice, as a green light for more violence.

Federal agency prepares new crackdown on US travelers

By Patrick Martin, 30 December 2015

The Transportation Security Administration will reject driver’s licenses from at least nine states as valid ID for boarding an airplane, with the first notices to be issued in January.

Cleveland cop who killed twelve-year-old exonerated

By Tom Hall, 29 December 2015

The decision not to charge Officer Timothy Loehmann for killing Tamir Rice is the outcome of a well-orchestrated campaign by the county prosecutor’s office.

George Washington University apologizes for censorship of Palestinian flag

By Isaac Finn, 29 December 2015

The incident at the Washington, D.C university is only one of many similar attacks on free speech rights aimed at suppressing criticism of Israel.

Obama administration prepares raids on Central American immigrants

By Patrick Martin, 28 December 2015

Most of those targeted are women and children who have sought to escape gang attacks, drug-related violence and brutality by US-backed security services in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Notes on police violence in America

Texas grand jury refuses to indict police officers involved in the death of Sandra Bland

By Nick Barrickman and Tom Hall, 24 December 2015

Bland was found dead in a Waller County jail cell in July where she was being held after a traffic stop.

US cops killed more people this year than in 2014

By Tom Hall, 22 December 2015

Despite mass protests against police violence by tens of thousands of people over the past year, the wave of police terror gripping the US has only intensified.

Notes on police violence in America

Four recent police shootings spark outrage

By John Andrews, 21 December 2015

Newly released video recordings that captured two brutal law enforcement shootings starkly demonstrate that police violence and official cover ups continue unabated.

Los Angeles shuts down entire school district after email terror threat

By Don Knowland, 16 December 2015

The message which apparently prompted the closure of more than 1,000 schools had been determined to be a hoax by early Tuesday afternoon.

Tennessee woman arrested after attempting self-induced abortion

By Naomi Spencer, 16 December 2015

A Murfreesboro woman has been charged with attempted murder after trying to induce an abortion with a coat hanger.

US Supreme Court considering end to “one person, one vote” principle

By John Burton, 15 December 2015

Last week, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in cases brought to abolish the basic democratic principle that legislative districts be apportioned based on total population.

Notes on police violence in America

Chicago police officer accused of jamming gun down throat of suspect acquitted

By Gabriel Black, 15 December 2015

A notorious Chicago judge acquitted a veteran police officer Monday of official misconduct and aggravated battery, despite DNA evidence on his gun.

US Supreme Court justice argues black students should attend inferior schools

By Tom Carter, 12 December 2015

Sixty years after court-ordered school desegregation, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia argued that black students would be better off attending schools where classes would not be “too fast for them.”

Defense rests in trial of first police officer charged in killing of Freddie Gray

By Nick Barrickman, 12 December 2015

Typifying the callous approach of the defense was the testimony of Dr. Vincent Di Maio, a forensic pathologist, who coldly asserted that Gray’s death was “just an accident … and accidents happen.”

Two police officers indicted for murder of six-year-old

By Gabriel Black, 12 December 2015

Evidence released after the indictment shows that the six-year-old and his father posed no threat to the police officers.

Amid terror scare, US House passes new restrictions on visa-free visits

By Patrick Martin, 9 December 2015

The bill, passed with near-unanimous bipartisan support and backed by the White House, is an attempt to use the Paris and San Bernardino attacks to expand state repression.

The forced resignation of Erika Christakis at Yale University

By David Walsh, 9 December 2015

Yale University lecturer Erika Christakis, at the center of controversy since the end of October, has decided not to continue teaching courses at the university.

Public meetings in Detroit and New York

The roots and political implications of the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino

9 December 2015

On December 9 and December 12, the IYSSE is holding meetings on the attacks in France and the US, and the way they are being used by the ruling class.

Obama’s San Bernardino speech and the rightward lurch of US politics

By Barry Grey, 8 December 2015

The drumbeat for military escalation is the result of a calculated decision to utilize the San Bernardino killings to overcome growing popular disaffection and opposition to war.

US border agents cleared of charges in murder of immigrant Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas

By Toby Reese and Jake Dean, 7 December 2015

Five years after the death of Hernandez-Rojas at the hands of US border agents, the Department of Justice has decided to close the investigation.

Jury seated in first Freddie Gray police murder trial

By Tom Hall and Nick Barrickman, 3 December 2015

The media and political establishment are preparing for a crackdown on mass protests if the six Baltimore cops charged in the killing of Freddie Gray are acquitted.

Planned Parenthood shooter motivated by right-wing smear campaign

By Tom Carter, 30 November 2015

Responsibility for the deadly attack in Colorado Springs on Friday rests with the ringleaders of the ultra-right campaign against Planned Parenthood.

The conspiracy to cover up the police murder of Laquan McDonald

By Christopher Davion and Kristina Betinis, 30 November 2015

The statements of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other officials are aimed at obscuring their own role in covering up for the criminal actions of police officer Jason Van Dyke.

“This is a whitewash, that is exactly what this is”

One year since the murder of Tamir Rice, police who killed him are still free

By Samuel Davidson, 26 November 2015

Twelve-year-old Tamir Rice was shot dead by Cleveland, Ohio, police on November 22, 2014, as the boy was playing with a toy gun in a park near his home.

New York City police deploy new counterterrorism unit

By Sandy English, 23 November 2015

The ultimate purpose of the new police unit is to deal with opposition from the city’s increasingly impoverished working class to growing social inequality and the drive toward war.

Paris terrorists operated “in plain sight”

By Patrick Martin, 21 November 2015

At least six of the nine men involved in the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris were known to the French and Belgian security services.

US politicians seize on Paris attacks to promote xenophobia

By Andre Damon, 19 November 2015

Republican presidential candidates and elected officials have called for the closure of mosques, a religious check on refugees and even the use of concentration camps to hold migrants.

US Supreme Court expands immunity for killer cops

By Tom Carter, 12 November 2015

The Supreme Court’s decision reflects the fact that, in the face of rising popular anger over police killings, all of the branches of government are closing ranks behind the police.

Paramilitary police in Miami force passengers to leave plane at gunpoint

By Andre Damon, 11 November 2015

In a pattern becoming increasingly familiar throughout the United States, a minor security incident was used to launch a military/police lockdown at Miami International Airport Monday.

The Pentagon’s Law of War Manual: Part four

A recipe for total war and military dictatorship

By Thomas Gaist, 6 November 2015

This is the last of four articles analyzing the new US Department of Defense Law of War Manual.

The Pentagon’s Law of War Manual: Part three

A recipe for total war and military dictatorship

By Thomas Gaist, 5 November 2015

This is the third of four articles analyzing the new US Department of Defense Law of War Manual. The first article was posted November 3, the second on November 4.

The Pentagon’s Law of War Manual: Part two

A recipe for total war and military dictatorship

By Tom Carter, 4 November 2015

This is the second of four articles analyzing the new US Department of Defense Law of War Manual.The first article was posted November 3.

The Pentagon’s Law of War Manual: Part one

A blueprint for total war and military dictatorship

By Tom Carter, 3 November 2015

This is the first in a series of articles analyzing the new US Department of Defense Law of War Manual.

FBI Director James Comey’s apology for police murder

By Andre Damon, 31 October 2015

The implication of Comey’s argument is that those who expose police brutality serve to promote violent crime and should be suppressed.

EU Parliament votes nonbinding resolution to protect Edward Snowden

By Alex Lantier, 31 October 2015

While cynically bowing to mass support for Snowden’s exposure of state criminality, the EU offers him no protection from persecution by US and European spy agencies.

US judge orders release of Guantanamo torture videos

By Tom Carter, 31 October 2015

A federal district judge rejected the Obama administration’s latest attempt to block the disclosure of videos that depict beatings and force-feeding at the torture camp.

Appeals Court allows lawsuit against NYPD’s spying on Muslims to proceed

By Isaac Finn, 27 October 2015

The lawsuit was filed in response to extensive spying on Muslims carried out by the NYPD’s now-disbanded Demographics Unit.

WikiLeaks publishes documents from CIA director’s private email account

By Tom Carter, 27 October 2015

The publication of documents related to torture from the private email account of John Brennan is a reminder that there are torturers and war criminals who remain at large and have yet to be brought to justice.

Alabama judge to poor defendants: Give blood or go to jail

By Shelley Connor, 23 October 2015

Forcing impoverished debtors to exchange their blood for freedom is a particularly grotesque expression of the class character of the American criminal “justice” system.

BBC’s Panorama attacks Edward Snowden

By Robert Stevens, 14 October 2015

Edward Snowden: Spies and the Law was a travesty of journalism that repeated the lies and propaganda of the US military-intelligence complex.

Federal court arraigns Arizona Border Patrol agent for murder of Mexican teenager

By D. Lencho, 13 October 2015

Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez was shot at least 10 times by Border Patrol agents while walking along the Mexican side of the border.

Murder conviction, coerced by New York City police, overturned after 25 years

By Philip Guelpa, 13 October 2015

A conviction that led to New York’s “broken windows” and “stop-and-frisk” policies has been overturned.

The whitewash of Tamir Rice’s killing and the fight against police violence

By Niles Williamson, 13 October 2015

In the face of widespread outrage over the police murder of the 12-year-old Cleveland boy last year, the police and the media have been working tirelessly to justify his shooting.

Supreme Court hears oral arguments in death penalty cases

By Tom Carter, 10 October 2015

The arguments were not concerned with the possibility of abolishing America’s capital punishment system, but with fine-tuning the government death machine.

New York City joins Strong Cities “anti-terror” network, stepping up police surveillance

By Isaac Finn, 10 October 2015

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement drew criticism from civil liberties and Muslim community organizations, who argue that the program will unfairly target Muslims.

Virginia executes prisoner despite claim of intellectual disability

By Kate Randall, 3 October 2015

The execution of Alfredo Rolando Prieto came as Oklahoma suspended executions over lethal drug mix-up. Executions are also planned in Missouri and Texas.

Oklahoma governor stays Richard Glossip execution for 37 days

By Ed Hightower, 1 October 2015

The state killing has only been delayed by Governor Mary Fallin, not forestalled.

Notes on police violence in the US

Delaware police shoot wheelchair-bound man a dozen times

By Ed Hightower, 26 September 2015

Officers said the 28-year-old paraplegic man had a gun, a claim unsubstantiated by a bystander video and denied by his family.

New York Times again mocks concerns over Jade Helm domestic military exercise

By Thomas Gaist, 19 September 2015

The “newspaper of record” has devoted yet another column slandering opponents of the Jade Helm 15 military exercises.

The reactionary campaign around Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis

By Tom Carter, 10 September 2015

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis was released Tuesday, after five days of imprisonment for defying a court order to perform her official duties and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

California Democrat urges court to reinstate death penalty

By John Andrews and Alan Gilman, 5 September 2015

California Attorney General Kamala Harris, with the support of Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, is defending the death penalty in federal court.

Anti-gay Kentucky county clerk jailed for contempt of court

By Ed Hightower, 4 September 2015

Rowan County clerk Kim Davis cited religious objections to gay marriage in refusing, in defiance of a federal court order, to issue marriage licenses.

Northern Illinois town on lockdown as police manhunt continues

By Kristina Betinis, 3 September 2015

Police have responded to the shooting of an officer with a massive paramilitary manhunt, putting the town of Fox Lake, Illinois on lockdown.

A judicial victory for illegal NSA spying

By Joseph Kishore, 29 August 2015

Two years after the first leaks from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the American political establishment and media are treating the revelations of illegal and unconstitutional activity as an insignificant issue.

New York cops spied on activists against police violence

By Sandy English, 29 August 2015

Newly released documents show undercover cops took photographs of organizers of protests against police violence last winter and recorded their activities.

Autopsy reveals St. Louis police shot teenager Mansur Ball-Bey in the back

By Evan Blake, 22 August 2015

The autopsy results, along with witness testimony, strongly indicate that St. Louis police lied to cover up a brutal murder committed by two of their officers.

New York City lawyers suggest health care provider committed a crime in death of Rikers Island inmate

By Isaac Finn, 22 August 2015

Court documents indicate that New York City will opt out of a contractual obligation to defend the health care provider at Rikers Island.

AT&T collaboration with the NSA reveals US corporate-intelligence nexus

By Thomas Gaist, 17 August 2015

Classified NSA documents published this weekend have further exposed the vast scale of collaboration between the NSA and US telecommunications giants.

Chelsea Manning facing indefinite solitary confinement

By George Gallanis, 15 August 2015

The whistleblower faces solitary confinement for disorderly conduct, disrespecting corrections officers and having prohibited items.

Connecticut high court rules state death penalty unconstitutional

By Kate Randall, 15 August 2015

The state court’s 4-3 ruling declared that in the modern age the death penalty meets the definition of cruel and unusual punishment.

Sweden drops some allegations against Julian Assange but US-backed persecution continues

By James Cogan, 14 August 2015

The passing of five years has not dampened Washington’s vindictive pursuit of the WikiLeaks editor.

Kentucky county official defies court order on gay marriage

By Patrick Martin, 14 August 2015

The Rowan County clerk has refused to issue any marriage licenses at all since the Supreme Court decision striking down all bans on gay marriage.

White House defends imprisonment of immigrant children

By Evan Blake, 13 August 2015

The Obama administration is appealing a court ruling that seeks to ban the imprisonment of hundreds of children and their mothers in immigration detention centers.

Ferguson protests continue in defiance of state of emergency

By Evan Blake, 12 August 2015

Protesters demonstrated once again Monday night, and were met by riot police who used pepper spray and arrested at least 22 protesters.

One year since the death of Michael Brown

By Andre Damon, 8 August 2015

Last year’s events in Ferguson, Missouri exposed the reign of police violence in the US and the militarized repression with which the ruling class responds to social opposition.

ACLU files lawsuit over handcuffing of Kentucky school children

By Naomi Spencer, 6 August 2015

The spread of police state measures extends into the public schools.

Notes on police violence in America

Dallas man dies after telling deputies he cannot breathe

By Tom Carter, 4 August 2015

A witness said Joseph Sheldon Hutcheson died after sheriff’s deputies put their knees on his back and throat.

Prosecutor declines to bring charges against Cincinnati cops who lied to protect killer of Samuel DuBose

By Evan Blake, 1 August 2015

The victim’s family has demanded that one of the officers be charged for making false statements on a police incident report.

Notes on police violence in America

Cleveland officer pepper sprays crowd of protesters

By Evan Blake, 28 July 2015

Protesters were denouncing police for arresting a 14-year-old, at which point an officer sprayed a large group of protesters in his vicinity.

The police murder of Sandra Bland

By Andre Damon, 23 July 2015

The July 13 death of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old African-American woman, in an East Texas jail cell has once again brought the issues of police violence and attacks on democratic rights to the forefront of political life in the United States.

Wesley Clark’s internment proposal: The specter of military dictatorship

By Bill Van Auken, 22 July 2015

In advocating mass internment of “radicalized” Americans, Clark speaks for powerful layers within the state and ruling oligarchy who fear the growth of social opposition.

General Wesley Clark calls for putting “disloyal” Americans in internment camps

By Thomas Gaist, 21 July 2015

”Radicalized” US residents should be subject to indefinite detention “for the duration” of the global war on terrorism, Clark said during a recent interview with MSNBC.

Artist Shepard Fairey arrested on felony charges for Detroit graffiti

By Zac Corrigan, 20 July 2015

Fairey was arrested less than two months after completing a mural in Detroit, commissioned by billionaire Dan Gilbert.

Texas prison death highlights police violence in America

By Andre Damon, 18 July 2015

The unexplained and suspicious death of Sandra Bland is only the latest episode in a wave of police violence and murder in the US.

Voter suppression laws on trial in North Carolina

By Matthew Taylor, 17 July 2015

A federal lawsuit has challenged laws adopted by the state legislature to reduce voter turnout among minorities and the poor.

US military launches Jade Helm domestic training operations

By Thomas Gaist, 16 July 2015

The months-long war games will see US forces from all four branches of the military conduct “Realistic Military Training” in cities and rural areas throughout the American south and west.

Missouri carries out first execution since Supreme Court lethal injection ruling

By Kate Randall, 15 July 2015

David Zink’s execution was the first carried out nationwide since the US Supreme Court’s June 29 ruling on Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol.

Family of Eric Garner demands criminal prosecution after New York City announces $5.9 million settlement

By Fred Mazelis, 15 July 2015

A key aim of the settlement is to continue the cover-up of Garner’s murder, including the manipulation of the grand jury to protect the police.

Notes on police violence in America

Alabama officers repeatedly use Taser on teenager having seizures

By Evan Blake, 15 July 2015

Police shocked the young woman three times with a Taser as she was having a severe grand mal seizure, causing her to lose consciousness.

FBI Director Comey demands “backdoor” access to encrypted data

By Kevin Reed, 13 July 2015

Comey spoke before two Senate committees last week to press the case for stepped-up government surveillance of the American people.

WikiLeaks email release reveals hacking by governments worldwide

By Mike Head, 13 July 2015

At least 46 countries are identified as seeking Hacking Team software to secretly access and monitor computers and smart phones.

South Carolina legislature ends display of Confederate flag

By Patrick Martin, 10 July 2015

The decision to remove the flag from the state capitol comes after years of adamant refusal to respond to complaints that the flag was an offensive emblem of the slave-owning South.

Three decades on death row

Glenn Ford: An American tragedy

By Niles Williamson, 8 July 2015

Ford, who died last week at his home in New Orleans, spent the previous 30 years on death row in solitary confinement at Angola prison—for a crime he did not commit.

US Justice Department finds that police provoked unrest in Ferguson

By Kevin Martinez, 3 July 2015

The report concludes that inappropriate military and police tactics alienated and incited crowds peacefully protesting the killing of Michael Brown into violent confrontation.