Democratic Rights in the US

“The NYPD is a gang”

Outrage grows over use of police “chokehold” in death of New York man

By a reporting team, 21 July 2014

The city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board reported more than 1,000 complaints about chokeholds in the past five years.

Obama administration added 1.5 million names to US terrorist watch list

By Niles Williamson, 21 July 2014

The numbers were divulged by administration lawyers in a suit filed by a northern Virginia man challenging the constitutionality of the government’s no-fly list.

Federal Judge rules California death penalty law is unconstitutional

By Alan Gilman, 18 July 2014

The judge found that lengthy and unpredictable delays have resulted in an arbitrary and unfair capital punishment system.

A crime against humanity on America’s border

By Bill Van Auken, 17 July 2014

The “message” sent by Obama with the first planeload of child deportees sent back to Honduras is that Washington is as contemptuous of international law at home as it is abroad.

Missouri carries out its sixth execution of the year

By Kate Randall, 17 July 2014

The US Supreme Court refused to halt the execution of Missouri death row inmate John Middleton, the 25th person executed in the US in 2014.

Torture and death in America’s prisons

By Andre Damon, 15 July 2014

A series of press reports document the fact that torture is widespread in America’s sprawling prison system.

Cybersecurity bill will expand surveillance powers of US military and intelligence agencies

By Thomas Gaist, 15 July 2014

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2014, bound for the Senate floor, authorizes new forms of large-scale data transfer between US corporations and the state.

The CIA spying scandal and the disintegration of American democracy

By Tom Carter, 14 July 2014

The Obama administration’s refusal to bring charges underscores the reality, behind the trappings of democracy, of de facto rule by an unelected and authoritarian military-intelligence apparatus.

Edward Snowden seeks asylum renewal from Russia

By Thomas Gaist, 14 July 2014

The NSA whistleblower was forced to accept a one-year asylum period in Russia after his applications were refused by numerous other governments.

Florida carries out its sixth execution of 2014

By Kate Randall, 14 July 2014

Eddie Wayne Davis’s execution was the sixth in the state of Florida this year and the 24th carried out nationwide.

After string of shootings, Albuquerque Police Department purchases hundreds more assault rifles

By D. Lencho, 14 July 2014

The Albuquerque Police Department has agreed to purchase at least 350 additional AR-15 assault rifles, the type of weapon used in the killing of a homeless man that sparked nationwide outrage.

Woman jailed under new Tennessee law criminalizing the use of narcotics while pregnant

By Matthew MacEgan, 14 July 2014

Mallory Loyola became the first victim of the law last week and is being held in a county jail just days after giving birth.

Snowden documents show NSA spied on prominent Muslim-Americans

By Thomas Gaist, 10 July 2014

The leaks show that the surveillance apparatus collects information on anyone even remotely associated with opposition to the government’s repressive agenda.

Airport security agency bans powerless electronic devices on flights to US

By Thomas Gaist, 10 July 2014

Passengers with phones that do not power on will be prevented from boarding or have their devices confiscated.

Virginia man coerced into undergoing vasectomy as part of plea agreement

By Ed Hightower, 10 July 2014

The plea deal is a reactionary development that echoes the eugenics movement of the 1920s.

The US Supreme Court and religion

By Tom Carter, 9 July 2014

The US Supreme Court’s recent decisions upholding the “religious liberty” of corporations and other institutions signal a more aggressive repudiation of the country’s democratic and secular traditions.

Obama calls for $3.7 billion border security “surge”

By Andre Damon, 9 July 2014

The funds will go toward building detention facilities, stepping up border checkpoints, and expanding the domestic use of military surveillance drones.

Violence in Chicago: A symptom of social breakdown

By Kristina Betinis, 9 July 2014

While the local and national media has reported on years-long epidemic of youth violence, there has been no effort to examine the deeper causes of this human tragedy in America’s third most populous city.

Vast majority of those spied on by NSA are non-suspects

New revelations shatter US government lies on illegal surveillance

By Thomas Gaist, 7 July 2014

Some 90 percent of those who have had their email and other communications intercepted by the NSA are members of the general public, including US citizens.

Amid anti-immigrant protests in California

Obama announces increased border security and stepped-up deportations

By Norisa Diaz, 7 July 2014

Obama vowed last week to bypass Congress to increase spending on border policing and deportations.

California police officer savagely beats great-grandmother

By Gabriel Black, 7 July 2014

Last week, a California Highway Patrol officer was caught on tape repeatedly punching an unarmed woman in the face.

US Supreme Court backs Christian college against contraception mandate

By Tom Carter, 5 July 2014

On Thursday, in the wake of its decision in the Hobby Lobby case, the US Supreme Court issued an order that further undermines workers’ rights and the separation of church and state.

“Hobby Lobby” contraception ruling

US Supreme Court attacks First Amendment, workers’ rights

By John Burton and Barry Grey, 1 July 2014

The US Supreme Court has upheld a reactionary challenge by employers claiming to oppose contraception on religious grounds to a provision of Obama’s health care law mandating that employee insurance plans include coverage for birth control.

Obama seeks $2 billion to speed up deportation of child immigrants

By Patrick Martin, 30 June 2014

The White House will ask Congress Monday for $2 billion to detain and deport Central American child migrants in south Texas.

US Supreme Court strikes down abortion clinic “buffer zone”

By Ed Hightower and Tom Carter, 30 June 2014

The US Supreme Court last Thursday unanimously struck down a Massachusetts law that barred anyone other than patients, medical staff, police and passers-by from coming within a 35-foot radius of entrances to abortion clinics.

The Obama drone murder memo

By Barry Grey, 25 June 2014

The long-suppressed Justice Department memo released Monday establishes that the president of the United States, Barack Obama, in the most calculated and criminal manner, oversaw the murder of an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki.

Albuquerque, New Mexico rally to protest police brutality

By WSWS reporters, 25 June 2014

The Albuquerque police department has carried out a series of fatal shootings over the past several years.

Washington’s persecution of immigrant children

By Bill Van Auken, 24 June 2014

The Obama White House has responded to a humanitarian crisis of its own making with the methods of police repression.

Mass graves of undocumented migrants found in Texas

By Gabriel Black, 23 June 2014

Anthropologists found dozens of bodies, some of which were stacked on top of one another or wrapped in trash bags, at a south Texas cemetery.

Fifty years since the murder of the Mississippi civil rights workers

By Fred Mazelis, 23 June 2014

James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner sacrificed their lives in the struggle for democratic rights and social equality.

Obama administration steps up attacks on undocumented immigrants

By Rafael Azul, 21 June 2014

The US government intends to accelerate the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants, including children, now being held in harsh conditions.

US appeals court rules defendant has no right to secret surveillance documents

By Gabriel Black, 19 June 2014

A federal appeals court overturned a previous ruling allowing a terrorism defendant’s lawyer access to FISA material.

CIA planned rendition of Edward Snowden

By Robert Stevens, 18 June 2014

According to an article published by the Register, an aircraft belonging to the CIA was sent to Europe last June as the US government was preparing to seize whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

The US media and the debacle in Iraq

By Bill Van Auken, 17 June 2014

A column written by Chelsea (Bradley) Manning from his prison cell points to the criminal role played by the US media in foisting the Iraq War onto the American people.

Militarization of police in America

By Zac Corrigan, 16 June 2014

The Pentagon has been equipping US police departments with military weapons, combat vehicles and other wartime equipment.

Pennsylvania: Mother of seven dies while jailed for unpaid fines

By Samuel Davidson, 16 June 2014

The death of Eileen DiNino, 55, is a tragic example of the brutalization of the working class and the poor by the American judicial system.

Warehousing of Central American children in Arizona continues

By D. Lencho, 11 June 2014

The child immigrants are fleeing poverty and violence in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, countries oppressed by US imperialism.

Immigrant children held at Arizona detention center in deplorable conditions

By Kate Randall, 9 June 2014

Hundreds of child immigrants from Central America have been shipped from Texas to a makeshift detention center in Nogales, Arizona.

Infant still in critical condition after Georgia police raid

By Muhammad Khan, 7 June 2014

The “no-knock” drug raid during which a stun grenade exploded in the baby’s crib was conducted over a $50 methedrine sale.

One year of Edward Snowden’s revelations

By Eric London and Barry Grey, 6 June 2014

Since the first revelations a year ago, the reality of an emerging police state run by unelected intelligence spooks and military brass has been thoroughly exposed.

US Supreme Court rejects appeal by New York Times reporter James Risen

By Thomas Gaist, 3 June 2014

The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear Risen’s case amounts to a stamp of approval for US government prosecutions that violate the First Amendment.

NSA collects facial images of hundreds of millions of people

By Patrick Martin, 2 June 2014

Documents supplied by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden continue to expose police-state surveillance by the US intelligence apparatus.

FBI arrests acquaintance of Boston Marathon bombing suspect

By Nick Barrickman, 2 June 2014

The hard line taken by the Obama Justice Department against individuals not directly involved in the bombings may be designed to increase pressure on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to plead guilty as part of a plea deal and avoid going to trial on capital charges.

Supreme Court issues unanimous decision defending police in fatal shooting

By Tom Carter, 29 May 2014

The US Supreme Court unanimously ruled Tuesday in favor of three Arkansas police officers who fired 15 bullets at a fleeing motorist and his passenger, killing both.

Supreme Court stops Florida execution, requiring more evidence to assess mental competency

By Gabriel Black, 29 May 2014

The Supreme Court stopped the execution of a man from Florida on the basis that the judge needed to allow more evidence to assess his mental competency and that an IQ test was not always enough.

The face of food stamp cuts: Chicago, Illinois

By Chris Davion, 27 May 2014

WSWS reporters recently spoke to Chicago-area residents about the impact of the tens of billions in food stamp cuts implemented over the past two years.

US judge allows for continued force feeding of Guantanamo Bay prisoner

By Nick Barrickman, 27 May 2014

District Court Judge Gladys Kessler reverses previous ruling on force-feeding.

Government files reveal official campaign of spying against Occupy Wall Street

By Matthew MacEgan, 27 May 2014

4,000 pages of government communications detail the use of “fusion centers” in the coordinated mass surveillance against the protests in 2011 and 2012.

Report: US targets poor and working class with mass imprisonment

By Eric London, 26 May 2014

A report from the National Research Council details the devastating social impact of mass incarceration.

NSA “reform” bill would continue to allow for bulk phone record collection

By Matthew MacEgan, 24 May 2014

The “USA Freedom Act” is aimed at institutionalizing illegal NSA spying under the pretext of “reform.”

California: Police kill two, followed by crackdown on demonstrators in Salinas

By Eric London, 23 May 2014

Police armed with assault rifles threatened hundreds of demonstrators on Wednesday as residents of the farmworker community responded to police killings with anger.

WikiLeaks, Assange targets of active FBI probe

By Bill Van Auken, 21 May 2014

Court documents confirm that the FBI and US Justice Department are continuing a “criminal/national security” investigation against WikiLeaks and its founder.

Occupy Wall Street protester jailed for three months in case of police beating

By Sandy English, 20 May 2014

In a ruling designed to intimidate opponents of social inequality in the US, a judge in New York City sentenced Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan to 90 days in jail.

FBI killer of Ibragim Todashev revealed as ex-Oakland cop accused of cover-up and abuse

By Gabriel Black, 16 May 2014

FBI Special Agent Aaron McFarlane, who shot the unarmed Ibragim Todashev, has a history of alleged intimidation, falsification of evidence, and abuse.

Texas death row inmate granted last-minute stay of execution

By Kate Randall, 14 May 2014

The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay of execution to Robert Campbell to allow his lawyers to file a new petition arguing he is developmentally disabled and ineligible for the death penalty.

Attorneys for accused Boston bomber move to suppress statements taken by FBI

By Ed Hightower, 12 May 2014

The Obama Justice Department refused to allow Tsarnaev to have a lawyer present during the questioning.

Jurors urge no prison for convicted Occupy protester in New York

By Fred Mazelis, 10 May 2014

A letter from nine of the twelve jurors in the trial of Cecily McMillan takes a stand against the vindictive prosecution of the activist.

Brutalized by cops, convicted Occupy protester faces seven years in jail

By Bill Van Auken, 7 May 2014

Following her conviction in a rigged trial, Occupy Wall Street protester Cecily McMillan is facing a seven-year jail sentence.

US Supreme Court backs prayer at town meetings

By Ed Hightower, 6 May 2014

The ruling marks a new milestone in the court’s attack on democratic rights and generally rightward trajectory.

Another fatal shooting by Albuquerque police

By D. Lencho, 6 May 2014

Following three Department of Justice public meetings about police violence, Albuquerque police shot and killed a 50-year-old Air Force veteran in front of his home.

Oklahoma execution: Clayton Lockett was tasered by guards before lethal injection

By Thomas Gaist, 3 May 2014

A UN statement condemned the execution as “cruel, inhuman and degrading,” while Obama defended the use of lethal injection for “heinous” crimes.

Public meetings in Albuquerque attempt to defuse anger over police brutality

By D. Lencho in Albuquerque, 3 May 2014

The restricted character of the DOJ meetings showed that they were aimed not at addressing the sources of police brutality, but at restoring public confidence in a police department that has been totally discredited.

State murder in Oklahoma

By Kate Randall, 1 May 2014

The world looked on in horror and revulsion at events that transpired Tuesday evening in the execution chamber at the McAlester penitentiary in Oklahoma.

US Supreme Court may permit unwarranted search of cellular phone contents

By Ed Hightower, 1 May 2014

The cases before the court will set the limit on how far police can dig into one’s stored personal information without a search warrant.

Free the NATO 3!

Statement of the Socialist Equality Party (US)

1 May 2014

The Socialist Equality Party denounces the politically motivated frame-up of the NATO 3, who were sentenced this week to prison terms of five to eight years.

Oklahoma: Botched lethal injection forces postponement of second planned execution

By Kate Randall, 30 April 2014

Clayton Lockett reacted violently to the lethal injection drugs, dying 43 minutes after the chemicals were administered.

Compton, California subjected to massive secret aerial surveillance

By Alan Gilman, 30 April 2014

Local Police Departments are testing out new methods to carry out domestic surveillance in cities throughout the United States.

Anti-NATO protesters in Chicago sentenced to years in prison

By Kristina Betinis, 29 April 2014

In pressing for long prison sentences, Illinois state prosecutors compared the case to last year’s bombing of the Boston Marathon.

FISA court rejects Verizon suit vs. NSA telephone metadata surveillance

By Eric London, 28 April 2014

FISA Court Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled that the government’s bulk collection of phone data does not constitute a “search,” and that the protections of the Fourth Amendment from “unreasonable search and seizure” therefore do not apply.

Executions in Missouri and Florida

By Kate Randall, 26 April 2014

Two death row prisoners were put to death this week, with the US Supreme Court denying last-minute appeals in both cases.

Lawsuit accuses FBI of using no-fly list to recruit American Muslim informants

By Fred Mazelis, 25 April 2014

Four plaintiffs charge a brazen violation of their basic democratic rights.

US Supreme Court chips away at habeas corpus and right against self incrimination

By Ed Hightower, 25 April 2014

The Supreme Court ruling in the case White v. Woodall attacks basic democratic rights.

Less than two weeks after scathing Department of Justice report

Albuquerque police kill fleeing 19-year-old woman

By D. Lencho, 24 April 2014

A US Department of Justice report excoriating the Albuquerque Police Department’s “excessive force that violates the Constitution and federal law” has not slowed the pace of fatal police shootings.

Massive police presence in place for Boston Marathon

By Kate Randall, 21 April 2014

An unprecedented security operation has been planned for this year’s Boston Marathon, involving more than 60 local, state and federal agencies commanded from a underground bunker.

Albuquerque, New Mexico civilian board members resign, citing fraud of police oversight

By Kevin Martinez, 19 April 2014

Three civilian members of the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission said they can no longer “continue to pretend” they have power after a spate of police killings.

Occupy Wall Street activist on trial for assaulting New York City cop

By Sandy English, 18 April 2014

Cecily McMillan faces up to seven years in prison if she is convicted.

FBI infiltrates Guantanamo detainee’s defense team

By Gabriel Black, 16 April 2014

The military trial of five men accused of murder for the attacks on 9/11 has been halted after it was revealed that the FBI had turned a member of the defense team into an informant.

One year since the Boston Marathon bombing

By Barry Grey, 15 April 2014

The bombings on April 15, 2013 became the occasion for an unprecedented state operation, in which for the first time a major American city was placed under de facto martial law.

Police state measures intensified in run-up to 2014 Boston Marathon

By Mike Ingram, 14 April 2014

City officials have unveiled a plan for massive video surveillance and police checkpoints along the route of the April 21 Boston Marathon.

Department of Justice reports Albuquerque police engaged in “excessive force”

By D. Lencho and Stuart Winters, 12 April 2014

The US Department of Justice released a damning report on escalating violence by the Albuquerque Police Department.

More attacks on right to vote in US states

By Ed Hightower, 10 April 2014

Nineteen states have either enacted or taken steps towards measures limiting the right to vote.

Judge dismisses lawsuit challenging drone assassinations of US citizens

By Tom Carter, 7 April 2014

Federal Judge Rosemary M. Collyer ruled that there is no legal remedy for the extrajudicial killing of a US citizen, endorsing a battery of totalitarian pseudo-legal doctrines advanced by the Obama administration.

Harvard University report endorses police state measures in Boston Marathon lockdown

By Nick Barrickman, 7 April 2014

The report demonstrates that one year after the Boston Marathon bombings, the political establishment, including those sections aligned with the Democratic Party, continues to cover up the grave and reactionary implications of the Boston lockdown.

Texas carries out lethal injection with drug from unidentified source

By Kate Randall, 5 April 2014

Tommy Lynn Sells was executed Thursday after the US Supreme Court denied a petition that charged his lethal injection constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

CIA torture and the threat of dictatorship

By Patrick Martin, 3 April 2014

Details of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture demonstrate that the ruling elite in the United States is a criminal class.

Mississippi throws out murder conviction of death row inmate Michelle Byrom

By Matthew MacEgan, 2 April 2014

In a rapid turn of events on Monday, the Mississippi Supreme Court threw out the murder conviction of Michelle Byrom, a 56-year-old woman who was sentenced to death in 1999 for “masterminding” the murder of her husband.

Congressional report whitewashes government’s role in Boston Marathon bombing

By Nick Barrickman, 1 April 2014

The 38-page report is heavily redacted, with large sections of text dealing with the most critical issues blacked out.

New Mexico: SWAT teams and police shut down police brutality protest

By Gabriel Black, 1 April 2014

Police fired tear gas, made arrests and beat protesters at a march protesting police violence by the Albuquerque police department.

New Snowden documents detail political and corporate espionage by US, UK

By Thomas Gaist, 31 March 2014

The NSA has carried out systematic surveillance against more than 100 heads of state.

New evidence of US intelligence links to Boston Marathon bomber

By Nick Barrickman, 31 March 2014

Lawyers for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have alleged that FBI agents attempted to force his older brother Tamerlan to inform on the Chechen and Muslim community in the Boston area.

Obama administration urges Supreme Court to dismiss First Amendment suit brought by anti-Bush demonstrators

By Eric London, 31 March 2014

In oral arguments before the Supreme Court, the Obama administration asserted a near-absolute right to arrest and sequester demonstrators on the basis of their political views.

US appeals court upholds reactionary Texas anti-abortion law

By Tom Carter, Jeff Lincoln and Charles Abelard, 31 March 2014

The ruling represents a further attack on the principle of the separation of church and state and on basic democratic rights.

UN report details US human rights abuses

By Thomas Gaist, 29 March 2014

The UN Human Rights Committee charged the US with violations of international law, including inhumane treatment of migrants, dragnet surveillance, torture and extralegal targeted killings.

74-year-old woman, wrongly imprisoned, released after 32 years

By Gabriel Black, 28 March 2014

Mary Virginia Jones spent 32 years behind bars on the charge of first-degree murder, a crime her boyfriend at the time committed.

The fraud of Obama’s NSA “reform”

By Joseph Kishore, 27 March 2014

Far from curtailing the NSA’s activities, the White House is seeking to expand the amount of data to which the spy agency has access.

California police departments capture cellphone data

By Gabriel Black, 27 March 2014

A local news station has revealed that “StingRay” technology is used regularly by the major police departments of California to collect all cellphone communications in a given area.

Florida prosecutor’s report whitewashes FBI killing of Ibragim Todashev

By Ed Hightower, 27 March 2014

State Attorney Jeffrey Ashton’s report cherry picks facts, ignores conflicting evidence, and weaves a tale of “justified self defense” to exonerate a state murder.

Police shooting of New Mexico homeless man caught on video

By D. Lencho and Stuart Winter, 27 March 2014

Barely a year after the Albuquerque Police Department’s chief resigned over escalating police violence, the fatal shooting of a mentally ill, homeless man captured on video has sparked outrage in New Mexico’s largest city.

Former President Jimmy Carter says NSA likely spying on his communications

By Andre Damon, 26 March 2014

Carter told reporters this week that he does not use email or phone calls for sensitive political correspondence.

US Supreme Court hears corporate challenge to Obamacare contraception provision

By Barry Grey, 26 March 2014

A ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would mark an historic and unprecedented attack on the principle of separation of church and state.