Democratic Rights in the US

Final pre-trial hearing held for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

By Nick Barrickman, 20 December 2014

Thursday’s hearing was the first time in a year and a half that Tsarnaev appeared in public, his trial is set to begin early next month.

Judge reverses guilty verdict in 1944 execution of 14-year-old

By Tom Mackaman, 20 December 2014

George Stinney, Jr., who was African American, was arrested, tried, convicted, and electrocuted for the murder of two white girls in the small mill town of Alcolu, South Carolina.

US Supreme Court decision broadens police powers of search and seizure

By Nick Barrickman, 18 December 2014

The recent ruling in Heien v. North Carolina is yet another blow to the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

US Supreme Court Justice Scalia says Constitution allows torture

By Joseph Kishore, 17 December 2014

Scalia’s remarks were made the day after the Senate Intelligence Committee released its report on CIA interrogations.

Tens of thousands join protests against police killings in the US

By Joseph Kishore, 15 December 2014

Protest organizers, including Al Sharpton, sought to channel popular anger over police violence behind the Democratic Party and the Obama administration.

Protesters in Washington, DC denounce police killings

By a WSWS reporting team, 15 December 2014

More than 10,000 protesters from many different states attended the demonstration against police killing in Washington, DC on Saturday.

New York City protest fills streets of Manhattan

By a WSWS reporting team, 15 December 2014

Outraged workers and youth denounced systemic police violence at a mass demonstration in New York City.

FBI investigates possible lynching of 17-year-old in Bladenboro, North Carolina

By Evan Blake, 15 December 2014

The FBI has taken over the investigation into the death of 17-year-old Lennon Lacy, who was found hanging in a park in Bladenboro, North Carolina on August 29.

Brennan’s defense of CIA torture

By Barry Grey, 13 December 2014

That the spy agency head issued the Obama administration’s rebuttal to the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture makes clear who is really in control of the American state.

Missouri and Georgia execute mentally disabled death row inmates

By Kate Randall, 12 December 2014

The US Supreme Court denied stays of execution for two death row inmates despite evidence of their intellectual disabilities.

CIA torture: American democracy in shambles

By Joseph Kishore, 11 December 2014

The response of the Obama administration and the political establishment to the Senate report on CIA torture makes clear that none of those responsible for heinous crimes will be arrested, indicted or prosecuted for their actions.

US Court of Appeals judge: Lawmakers should give NSA carte blanche in online spying

By Ed Hightower, 11 December 2014

During a Georgetown University conference on cybercrime, leading right-wing jurist Richard Posner argued that “national security” needs must override privacy rights.

Rolling Stone magazine and the University of Virginia rape allegations

By David Walsh, 11 December 2014

The unraveling of the Rolling Stone feature story sheds a good deal of light on the upper-middle class individuals and groups obsessed with identity politics.

The CIA torture report and the crisis of legitimacy in the United States

By Tom Carter, 8 December 2014

From CIA torture abroad to unrestrained police violence at home, the American ruling class is facing a deep crisis of political legitimacy, with revolutionary implications.

US Supreme Court considers limits to online speech

By Ed Hightower, 6 December 2014

In oral arguments on a case involving Facebook “threats,” the Roberts Court indicated it is seriously considering a major attack on freedom of speech and expression.

NSA tapping vast majority of cell phone networks worldwide

By Thomas Gaist, 5 December 2014

Newly published secret documents show that NSA surveillance operations aim to spy on all of the world's cellular phone data networks.

Police killings in America: The class issues

By Joseph Kishore, 5 December 2014

Once again, a police officer has been let off without charges for killing an unarmed man on the streets of an American city.

How the St. Louis prosecuting attorney manipulated the Ferguson grand jury

By John Burton, 3 December 2014

The grand jury process that ended with a decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson was anything but a fair and impartial weighing of the evidence.

Notes on police violence in America

Former Buffalo police officer sentenced to probation for beating handcuffed suspect

By Tom Hall, 3 December 2014

No let-up in police violence across the US.

Missouri governor signals long-term National Guard presence in Ferguson

By Andre Damon, 1 December 2014

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is seeking additional funding to finance the continued deployment of the National Guard in the St. Louis area.

Denver police caught on video beating suspect, tripping pregnant woman

By Tom Hall, 29 November 2014

Levi Frasier, who videotaped the incident, says that he was forced to sign a witness statement “under duress” that absolved the officers of any wrongdoing.

More than 300 arrested in Los Angeles during Ferguson protests

By Marc Wells, 28 November 2014

A total of 323 people have been arrested in Los Angeles in three days, raising questions of unlawful police conduct.

Brooklyn residents outraged at police killing of Akai Gurley

By Sandy English, 25 November 2014

The killing of unarmed Akai Gurley by a police officer in Brooklyn has sparked widespread revulsion in the housing project where he died.

Obama announces right-wing immigration “reform” in national address

By Patrick Martin, 21 November 2014

In a contemptible speech, the chief representative of the corporate and financial aristocracy carried forth on the need for immigrants to “play by the rules” and be held “accountable.”

Missouri carries out ninth execution of the year

By Kate Randall, 21 November 2014

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon refused to grant the condemned inmate clemency, and the US Supreme Court turned down his appeal for a stay.

US Defense Department organizing covert operations against "the general public"

By Thomas Gaist, 19 November 2014

According to the New York Times, the military and its investigative agencies have almost as many undercover agents working inside the United States as the FBI.

Decision imminent on whether to indict Ferguson cop in killing of Michael Brown

By Andre Damon, 15 November 2014

A coordinated campaign by the media and state and local officials to justify the killing of Michael Brown has been combined with threats to call in the National Guard.

Florida governor presides over 20th execution in first term

By Kate Randall, 14 November 2014

Chadwick Banks was the eighth prisoner in Florida, and the thirty-second in the United States, to be put to death this year.

Mumia Abu-Jamal, rights groups sue over Pennsylvania’s “Mumia Law”

By Ed Hightower, 13 November 2014

A lawsuit was filed Monday challenging Pennsylvania’s recently enacted Revictimization Relief Act.

Ninety-four percent of child migrants deported from US lack attorneys

By Jake Dean and Kevin Martinez, 12 November 2014

The denying of legal representation to child migrants is part of the Obama administration’s drive to accelerate deportations.

Harvard’s new sexual harassment policy, democratic rights and the new right

By David Walsh, 11 November 2014

On October 15, 28 professors at Harvard Law School published a statement sharply criticizing the university’s sexual harassment policy announced in early July.

FBI director defends media impersonation by bureau agents

By Thomas Gaist, 8 November 2014

Without seeking a specific warrant, FBI agents forged an Associated Press article during a 2007 investigation.

Justice Department imposes wrist-slap “reforms” on Albuquerque police after series of shootings

By Stuart Winter and D. Lencho, 7 November 2014

The settlement does not hold any of the officers who participated in the string of police murders criminally accountable.

AT&T and Verizon use “supercookies” to track users’ online activities

By Thomas Gaist, 7 November 2014

The leading mobile phone companies use so-called “supercookies” to secretly record day-to-day Internet usage by at least 100 million customers

Federal agency conspired with police to keep media out of Ferguson airspace

By Sandy English, 5 November 2014

Recorded telephone conversations by FAA officials make clear that the purpose of a no-fly zone set up during protests in Ferguson, Missouri was “to keep the media out.”

US state prison population soars as education spending plummets

By Kate Randall, 4 November 2014

If state corrections spending had been held at mid-1980s levels, US states would have $28 billion more each year to allocate to education and other social spending.

Justice Department seeks massive expansion of FBI hacking powers

By Thomas Gaist, 3 November 2014

Proposed changes to legal restrictions on government surveillance would authorize the FBI to infect computers worldwide with ultrasophisticated surveillance malware.

Republican-led purge of voter rolls targets seven million people

By our reporter, 1 November 2014

An investigative report by Al Jazeera America reveals that 27 state governments, most of them Republican-led, have joined in an effort to disqualify seven million registered voters.

Top officials at New York City’s Rikers Island prison resign amid brutality scandal

By Sandy English, 31 October 2014

The resignations follow revelations of widespread violence, neglect and torture at the prison.

The CIA torture cover-up continues

By Eric London, 31 October 2014

The highest echelons of the state are engaged in an unconstitutional plot to hide from the public the harrowing torture methods employed by the CIA.

Federal jury convicts friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect of lying to the FBI

By John Marion, 30 October 2014

Robel Phillipos, an acquaintance of Dzhokar Tsarnaev, faces up to 16 years in federal prison despite not being involved in the bombings.

IRS regularly seizes “suspicious” bank accounts without a criminal charge

By Tom Hall, 29 October 2014

The US Internal Revenue Service, using the legal procedure known as “civil asset forfeiture,” unilaterally confiscates the assets of individuals it suspects of tax evasion.

US Marine lawyer Michael Mori discusses fight to release Guantanamo prisoner David Hicks

By Richard Phillips, 25 October 2014

In this interview, Mori explains his experiences defending former Guantanamo Bay prisoner David Hicks and how the US violated the Geneva Conventions.

Lawsuits allege Alabama prison inmates left to die of treatable diseases

By Tom Hall, 23 October 2014

Jailers in Madison County, Alabama deliberately denied health care to inmates with treatable illnesses in order to cut costs, according to three recently filed lawsuits.

Hundreds of prison deaths in Florida under investigation

By Matthew MacEgan, 21 October 2014

Whistleblowers have revealed a wave of torture and murder by guards in Florida prisons.

US Supreme Court allows Texas to implement anti-democratic voter ID law

By Tom Carter, 20 October 2014

The Texas voter ID law, which was previously struck down as unconstitutional, will block hundreds of thousands of eligible voters from casting ballots in the November elections.

Leaked documents expose secret contracts between NSA and tech companies

By Thomas Gaist, 20 October 2014

The NSA’s internal documents indicate that corporations are actively abetting and benefiting from the US government’s illegal mass surveillance programs.

Judge delays order to release Guantanamo force-feeding videos

By Patrick Martin, 18 October 2014

The one-month “pause” gives the Obama administration time to seek an appeals court review of the order to make the tapes public.

New York’s de Blasio administration defends spying on Muslims

By Isaac Finn, 13 October 2014

The NYPD used undercover cops to spy on Mosques as well as Muslim cultural centers and businesses in New York and New Jersey.

Chicago-area teen charged with attempting to join ISIS

By Marcus Day, 11 October 2014

The arrest of Mohammed Hamzah Khan at a Chicago airport last Saturday raises a number of questions about the degree of US intelligence involvement.

Two months after killing of Michael Brown

Off-duty cop kills St. Louis teenager

By Andre Damon, 10 October 2014

The officer fired 17 shots, including a downward shot to the head that killed the 18-year-old.

Notes on police violence in the US

Police killed 77 people in September

By E.P. Bannon, 7 October 2014

Over the past week, police have killed at least fourteen more people, while judges and prosecutors continued to protect the perpetrators of police violence.

Report finds Border Patrol flew drones away from US borders

By Nick Barrickman, 7 October 2014

The findings follow revelations earlier this year that Customs and Border Protection had “loaned” its drone fleet to other intelligence agencies hundreds of times.

Judge orders release of Guantanamo Bay force-feeding videos

By Thomas Gaist, 6 October 2014

The very existence of the tapes—which show the repeated physical abuse of hunger striker Abu Wa'el Dhiab—was denied by the Obama administration until May 2014.

US Supreme Court Justice Scalia attacks separation of church and state

By Tom Carter, 6 October 2014

In a speech Wednesday, Scalia declared that the Constitution does not prohibit the government from favoring “religion over nonreligion,” calling for a fight against “secularists” who contend otherwise.

Majority of Texas abortion clinics to close following court ruling

By Kate Randall, 4 October 2014

The court action could force nearly one million Texas women to drive at least 300 miles round trip to access their constitutionally protected right to an abortion.

Revelations of brutality deepen crisis over New York’s Rikers Island prison

By Philip Guelpa, 3 October 2014

Rikers Island is one of the most notorious examples of the national policy of mass incarceration.

CIA document details cover-up of drug trafficking by Contras

By Thomas Gaist, 2 October 2014

The CIA worked with the major media outlets to suppress reporting on cocaine trafficking operations by the US-backed Contra militias.

US Secret Service director resigns amid mounting security scandals

By Bill Van Auken, 2 October 2014

Julia Pierson stepped down after bipartisan demands for an independent probe of lapses in security surrounding the White House and the president.

Mississippi prison inmates indefinitely detained and subject to “barbaric” conditions

By Matthew MacEgan, 29 September 2014

The American Civil Liberties Union filed two lawsuits this week claiming that Mississippi prison inmates were being indefinitely detained and others were kept in conditions “tantamount to torture.”

More arrests in Ferguson, Missouri after police chief “apologizes”

By Eric London, 29 September 2014

Tensions in Ferguson, Missouri show no sign of subsiding seven weeks after the police killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

The legacy of US Attorney General Eric Holder

By Tom Carter, 29 September 2014

During his six-year term, Holder has presided over the most comprehensive and aggressive trampling of democratic rights in US history.

Washington Post slashes retirement benefits

By a reporter, 29 September 2014

The newspaper is cutting benefits immediately for non-union employees and demanding the same cuts in contract talks with the Newspaper Guild.

The witch-hunting of Steven Salaita and the new McCarthyism

By Bill Van Auken, 23 September 2014

The political victimization of Salaita in the name of “democracy” is another chilling warning that core democratic rights, including academic freedom, are incompatible with a society dominated by social inequality and the drive to war.

US prison population increases for first time since 2009

By Kate Randall, 23 September 2014

While the US accounts for about 5 percent of the world’s population, it incarcerates about one-quarter of all prisoners on the planet.

University of Illinois victimizes professor critical of Israel’s policies

By Kristina Betinis, 22 September 2014

University leaders voted 8-1 to rescind a job offer made to Steven Salaita, provoking protests and an academic boycott of the university.

Australian anti-terror raids part of US war drive

By Nick Beams, 20 September 2014

Within hours of Australia’s largest-ever anti-terror operation, US Secretary of State Kerry invoked the lurid news reports to justify the US war in Iraq and Syria.

Google report documents surge in electronic surveillance requests by governments worldwide

By Thomas Gaist, 20 September 2014

Google complies with at least 84 percent of US government data requests, which have risen by 250 percent during the past five years.

Ferguson officer Darren Wilson testifies before grand jury

By John Burton, 20 September 2014

The prosecutor for St. Louis County, Missouri is using the grand jury to furnish political cover for a decision not to prosecute the Ferguson cop for the murder of Michael Brown.

Notes on police violence in America

US police kill 104 people in August

By Tom Hall, 19 September 2014

The killings are part of a general pattern of violence and abuse carried out by an increasingly militarized police force.

Texas executes ninth inmate of 2014

By Paul Michaels, 19 September 2014

Lisa Coleman was the ninth inmate executed in Texas this year and the sixth woman executed since 1982.

For-profit immigrant family detention center planned in Texas

By Kevin Martinez and Jake Dean, 19 September 2014

Immigrant families fleeing violence and poverty in Central America are to be detained in a center run by a for-profit corporation with a documented history of abuse.

Yale chaplain forced out by Zionist attacks

By Fred Mazelis, 18 September 2014

Rev. Bruce Shipman was pressured to quit for pointing out that Israeli government crimes provide ammunition for those seeking to revive anti-Semitism today.

US appeals court approves Wisconsin voter ID law for November election

By Barry Grey, 18 September 2014

The raft of laws in Wisconsin and other states imposing photo ID requirements and other restrictions on access to the ballot represents an attack on the fundamental democratic right to vote.

California residents speak out against militarization of Davis police department

By Evan Blake and Juan Verala Luz, 16 September 2014

Residents of the California town turned out in large numbers to demand the local police department’s return of a newly-acquired Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicle.

San Jose, California police acquire a drone

By Henry Allen, 15 September 2014

The drone, purchased with federal grant money, will be made available to 13 other bomb squads in the Bay Area.

New documents detail NSA surveillance of Yahoo

By Thomas Gaist, 13 September 2014

The documents cover rulings in 2008 upholding the NSA’s warrantless data mining programs.

Torture victim Jose Padilla sentenced to 21 years

By Ed Hightower, 13 September 2014

A central aim of the prosecution was to cover up the details of one of the more extreme cases of US government torture.

Senate hearing whitewashes militarization of American police

By Tom Hall and E. P. Bannon, 12 September 2014

Tuesday’s hearing was aimed at reinforcing and intensifying the federal government’s arming of police forces under the guise of a “review.”

New witnesses describe police murder of Michael Brown

By Thomas Gaist, 12 September 2014

Accounts from two construction workers further substantiate already existing evidence that officer Darren Wilson fired numerous rounds into the unarmed Brown, even as the youth sought to surrender.

Executions in Missouri and Texas

Courts reject condemned inmates’ appeals on lethal injection drugs

By Paul Michaels and Kate Randall, 12 September 2014

The two prisoners’ appeals challenging the secrecy surrounding the source and quality of lethal injection drugs and state protocols failed to halt their executions.

Thirteen years after the September 11 attacks

CIA torture and the “war on terror”

By Joseph Kishore, 11 September 2014

Recent events have confirmed that the highest levels of the US government and American intelligence authorized the most barbaric forms of torture.

CIA employed “medieval” torture that brought prisoners “to the point of death”

By Thomas Gaist, 9 September 2014

According to a US Senate report that the CIA has sought to block, torture methods it used far exceeded what has previously been acknowledged.

2004 Bush administration memos advocate unlimited presidential powers

By Tom Carter, 9 September 2014

Recently declassified documents detail the early stages of the ongoing effort to create the pseudo-legal framework for a police state in America.

Bowing to Senate Democrats

Obama reneges on pledge to ease deportations

By Patrick Martin, 9 September 2014

Both conservative and liberal Democrats opposed any relaxation of anti-immigrant policies before the November election.

Hundreds arrested at union-organized fast-food protests across the US

By Fred Mazelis, 6 September 2014

The unions are seeking to latch onto the legitimate grievances of workers to bolster the Democratic Party, which has presided over a wholesale assault on the working class.

The police-military crackdown in Ferguson, the assault on democratic rights, and the record of the World Socialist Web Site

By Tom Carter, 6 September 2014

The World Socialist Web Site, employing the method of Marxist analysis, has traced the various stages of the assault on democratic rights and sought to explain its relationship to fundamental historical and social processes related to the deepening crisis of American and world capitalism.

Detroit chief financial officer outlines program of permanent austerity

By Jerry White, 5 September 2014

Behind the dry, antiseptic testimony of the city’s chief financial officer in the federal bankruptcy courtroom Thursday was a restructuring plan that will produce untold suffering in Detroit.

North Carolina frame-up: Two innocent men jailed for 30 years

By Patrick Martin, 5 September 2014

Henry McCollum and Leon Brown were released Wednesday after DNA evidence proved their innocence of a 1983 rape and murder.

Alleged suicide of Louisiana man in police custody prompts federal investigation

By E.P. Bannon, 5 September 2014

Victor White III of New Iberia, Louisiana, is the third young man to die in a series of “Houdini handcuff suicides” that have occurred across the country over a two-year span.

Fifty years since the Rochester, New York riots

By Jonathan White, 5 September 2014

The riot was one of the first uprisings to sweep America’s cities in the 1960s.

New York mayor reneges on pledge to school bus drivers

By Daniel de Vries, 4 September 2014

Mayor de Blasio last week signed into law a school bus workers bill that failed to restore job protections.

The Obama administration and American labor

By Andre Damon, 3 September 2014

The chasm between working people and the political establishment was exemplified by the Labor Day speeches of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden.

GM moving production from Mexico to Tennessee

By Shannon Jones, 2 September 2014

The move is part of a deal based on huge concessions imposed on American auto workers

Homelessness increasing rapidly in Colorado

By Douglas Lyons, 2 September 2014

The homeless rate in Pueblo, Colorado has ballooned by 75 percent since January 2014.

The human toll of slump and part-time employment

New Jersey woman dies while napping between jobs

By Fred Mazelis, 2 September 2014

Maria Fernandes worked part-time at three separate Dunkin’ Donuts.

Labor Day report details huge decline in wages for Michigan workers

By Thomas Gaist, 1 September 2014

Wages for low-wage male workers have fallen more than 31 percent since 1979.

From Detroit to Ferguson: The brutal face of American capitalism

By Jerry White, 30 August 2014

If Detroit is the epicenter of social counterrevolution in America, Ferguson revealed the repressive measures the ruling class is prepared to use against all opposition to its policies.