Democratic Rights in the US

Military helicopters descend on Twin Cities, Minnesota in unannounced “urban warfare” exercises

By Matt Rigel, 23 August 2014

Residents of the Twin Cities, Minnesota were startled as low-flying combat helicopters buzzed over working class districts in mock nighttime exercises.

Second St. Louis area police shooting highlights unrestrained police violence in the US

By Andre Damon, 22 August 2014

St. Louis police released a video depicting the shooting Tuesday of 23-year-old Kajieme Powell, just ten days after the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown that led to mass protests in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri.

Workers and young people speak on Ferguson, Missouri, police violence

By a WSWS reporting team, 22 August 2014

The killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown and other recent police shootings evoked an angry response from workers and young people across the US.

Another police killing in St. Louis, Missouri as assault on protesters continues

By Niles Williamson, 20 August 2014

A 23-year-old man was shot dead by St. Louis police officers on Tuesday, a day after police carried out mass arrests of protesters denouncing the killing of Michael Brown.

De facto martial law in Ferguson, Missouri

By Barry Grey, 20 August 2014

The resort to police state methods in Ferguson is the outcome of the protracted decay of American democracy.

“We have the right to protest. We have the right to assemble”

Anger mounts in Ferguson, Missouri over police repression

By Andre Damon and Eric London, 20 August 2014

As the National Guard expanded its presence in Ferguson, Missouri, residents voiced outrage over another police killing in St. Louis on Wednesday.

German journalists arrested in Ferguson

By Wolfgang Weber, 20 August 2014

Ansgar Graw and Frank Hermann were held in a prison cell for three hours and subsequently released without comment.

National Guard, police tighten grip on Ferguson, Missouri

By Eric London and Patrick Martin, 19 August 2014

The arrival of a contingent of the Missouri National Guard has heightened the police-state atmosphere in this suburb of St. Louis.

Capitalism and the police-military mobilization in Ferguson, Missouri

By Joseph Kishore, 19 August 2014

No struggle against inequality and the police state apparatus in America can be successful unless it is based on the understanding that what is involved is a struggle against capitalism.

“They invaded Ferguson like they invaded Iraq”

Video: Ferguson residents say police crackdown turns city into war zone

By Andre Damon and Eric London, 19 August 2014

As the Missouri governor deployed National Guard forces to Ferguson, residents denounced the military-police crackdown and attacks on their right to assemble peacefully.

Workers and youth across US speak on police murder of Michael Brown

By our reporters, 19 August 2014

Workers and young people throughout the United States expressed their outrage at the police killing of the unarmed 18-year old and the militarized response of police to protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

Journalist James Risen denounces President Obama as the “greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation”

By Nick Barrickman, 19 August 2014

Facing a possible prison sentence for refusing to identify a confidential source, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James Risen denounced the Obama administration’s campaign against whistleblowers and journalists.

Missouri governor deploys National Guard to Ferguson

By Thomas Gaist, 18 August 2014

Following a night of police provocations and attacks on peaceful demonstrators demanding justice in the police murder of eighteen-year-old Michael Brown, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, announced that he was calling in the National Guard to occupy the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.

Democratic Party operatives seek to stifle opposition, facilitate police crackdown in Ferguson, Missouri

By Eric London, 18 August 2014

Al Sharpton, the police, and a coterie of Democratic politicians delivered a “unity” message aimed at suppressing popular outrage over the killing of Michael Brown.

Police refuse to release video after Dayton-area killing

By Samuel Davidson, 18 August 2014

Nearly two weeks after the police shot and killed a 22-year-old man in a suburban Dayton Walmart store, government and store officials are still refusing to release surveillance tapes and other evidence related to the murder.

Police, media smear victim of Missouri police shooting

By Patrick Martin, 16 August 2014

The release of photographs and eyewitness statements is an attempt to justify the execution-style killing of Michael Brown.

Federal government programs in the US have turned police into military force

By Zac Corrigan, 16 August 2014

Over a period of decades, federal government programs have been implemented which equip local police forces with military gear and incentivize its use.

Social inequality fuels anger over police killing of St. Louis youth

By Jerry White, 14 August 2014

While the media has sought to brand protesters as violent “looters,” the eruption of popular outrage after the police killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown has deep social roots.

Los Angeles police shoot and kill unarmed man

By John Andrews, 14 August 2014

Ezell Ford, a 24-year-old mentally challenged man, was gunned down near his home in south-central Los Angeles.

The police murder in St. Louis and the militarization of American society

By Jerry White, 13 August 2014

Yet another family and community in the United States have been traumatized by the death of an innocent young man at the hands of the police.

Scores arrested in three days of protests over Missouri police shooting

By Shannon Jones, 13 August 2014

A pregnant woman said she was thrown on the ground, maced and held at gunpoint by police Sunday night.

Louisiana procured death penalty drug through deception

By Tom Hall, 13 August 2014

State prison officials told a hospital that hydromorphone was to treat a “medical patient,” not to execute a prisoner.

Police fire tear gas at protests in St. Louis suburb over police killing of unarmed teen

By Kristina Betinis, 12 August 2014

Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot multiple times and killed by a police officer Saturday afternoon in what eyewitnesses describe as a wanton and unprovoked homicide.

Anger erupts after police killing of unarmed teen in St. Louis, Missouri

By Eric London, 11 August 2014

Police in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, shot Michael Brown in the head and chest on Saturday, the latest in a spate of police killings.

As political crisis erupts over police killing

New York police arrest man who taped Eric Garner’s death

By Sandy English, 11 August 2014

The police chokehold killing of Eric Garner last month has sparked widespread anger, while Mayor de Blasio attempts to prevent a social eruption.

Baltimore enacts law fining parents whose children violate curfew

By Nick Barrickman, 11 August 2014

Parents whose children violate curfew could be fined as much as $500 with the enactment of the strictest curfew law in the US.

Sri Lankan SEP and IYSSE demonstrate against Israeli assault on Gaza

By our correspondents, 8 August 2014

SEP/IYSSE demonstrators received a warm response from Colombo workers, students and youth.

University of Illinois blocks appointment of professor critical of Israeli crimes in Gaza

By Kristina Betinis, 8 August 2014

AAUP union leader Cary Nelson has defended the university administration’s action.

Release of Senate report on torture stalled by CIA redactions

By Eric London, 6 August 2014

Obama has fronted for the CIA and tacitly supported its months-long efforts to undermine the Senate probe and delay the release of the Intelligence Committee’s findings.

US researcher victimized over article opposing nuclear weapons

By Tom Hall, 5 August 2014

The Los Alamos National Laboratory fired respected security expert James Doyle after retroactively declaring his scholarly article classified.

Death of Eric Garner at hands of New York police ruled a homicide

By Sandy English, 4 August 2014

The authorities admit that the death of the Staten Island man was caused by a police chokehold.

Obama defends CIA torturers

By Patrick Martin, 2 August 2014

The president declared his “full confidence” in CIA Director John Brennan one day after the agency admitted it had engaged in illegal spying on a Senate committee investigating its Bush-era torture program.

State Department acknowledges widespread torture in leaked memo

By Eric London, 2 August 2014

An internal State Department memo accidentally emailed to a journalist exposes the Obama administration’s continued efforts to cover up CIA torture programs.

Vigilante groups patrol the US-Mexico border

By Jake Dean, 2 August 2014

Chauvinism whipped up by the political establishment has found expression in vigilante groups along the Texas border.

US prosecutors routinely violate attorney-client privilege

By Ed Hightower, 31 July 2014

The fact that prosecutors systematically read emails between inmates and their attorneys reveals a corroded legal system.

Alabama judges override juries to impose death sentences

By Tom Hall, 29 July 2014

Judges in Alabama have overridden jury sentences in capital cases in order to impose the death penalty 101 times since the 1980s.

More New York police violence captured on video

By Dan Brennan, 28 July 2014

The enormous and growing social inequality that is the defining feature of American capitalism inevitably requires police repression.

Federal guidelines lay out loose criteria for terrorism watch list

By Nick Barrickman, 26 July 2014

US officials have adopted procedures that allow virtually anyone to be designated a “suspected” or “known” terrorist by intelligence agencies, subjecting them to increased monitoring.

Former State Department employee reveals spying on Americans by executive order

By Ed Hightower, 25 July 2014

An editorial by the former official in the Washington Post underscores both the immense scope of illegal spying and the sham character of official “reform.”

“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.