Democratic Rights in the US

WikiLeaks considers legal action over Google’s compliance with US search orders

By Evan Blake, 29 January 2015

The Internet company secretly turned over emails, IP addresses, photographs, calendars and other private information of WikiLeaks staff to the US government.

Europe faces political “earthquakes,” BBC warns on Democracy Day

By Paul Mitchell, 24 January 2015

A report commissioned by the BBC states that the rise of populist anti-establishment parties is set to cause political earthquakes across Europe in 2015.

Police crackdown after Charlie Hebdo attack spreads across Europe

By Kumaran Ira, 19 January 2015

Security forces have been deployed across Europe in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo.

US drug enforcement agency acknowledges longstanding warrantless wiretapping program

By Thomas Gaist, 19 January 2015

The US Drug Enforcement Administration carried out mass surveillance of US telephone data over a period of more than a decade.

Obama, Cameron discuss war and state repression following Charlie Hebdo attack

By Chris Marsden and Jerry White, 16 January 2015

The two heads of state—whose countries have carried out a sustained attack on democratic rights—issued a jointly authored comment Thursday: “We won’t let the voice of freedom be muzzled.”

FBI accuses Ohio man of terror plot to attack US Capitol

By Niles Williamson, 16 January 2015

The FBI disclosed that the alleged plot did not represent a real threat as it had been developed with the direct participation of an undercover informant.

Top secret report details FBI mass surveillance

By Thomas Gaist, 14 January 2015

Beginning in 2008, the FBI received daily emailed reports listing new targets being added to the NSA’s spying programs.

Obama to host global terrorism summit

By Patrick Martin, 12 January 2015

The announcement of the White House summit appeared to be an effort to reassert a leading role for US imperialism in the development of anti-democratic methods worldwide.

White House rejects petitions to fire prosecutors who drove Internet activist Aaron Swartz to suicide

By Nick Barrickman, 12 January 2015

The Obama administration had earlier defended the judicial hounding of the Internet pioneer as “a good use of prosecutorial discretion.”

Sony hacking allegations used to push antidemocratic “cybersecurity” laws

By Tom Carter, 10 January 2015

Efforts are underway within the US government to exploit hacking allegations against North Korea in order to ram through legislation that will further expand domestic surveillance.

Cleveland, Ohio woman’s death at hands of police ruled a homicide

By Samuel Davidson, 9 January 2015

Tanisha Anderson died after a police officer slammed her head on to the pavement with his knee on her back.

Homemade bomb explodes outside NAACP offices in Colorado Springs

By Tom Hall, 9 January 2015

The attack came on the same day that Steve Scalise was reelected as House Majority Whip, despite his ties to white supremacist organizations.

Washington buries the CIA torture report

By Patrick Martin, 8 January 2015

One month after its release, official Washington and the American media have suppressed any discussion of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s detailed and grisly exposure of CIA torture.

House Republicans re-elect Congressional whip with ties to neo-Nazi group

By Andre Damon, 7 January 2015

The appointment of Steve Scalse is a clear statement that a past relationship with a white supremacist organization does not disqualify someone from holding a top post in Congress.

Ferguson grand juror seeks to speak out against rigged procedure

By Gabriel Black, 7 January 2015

The grand juror claims that prosecutor Robert McCulloch twisted evidence in favor of Darren Wilson, deliberately muddled the law and misrepresented jurors’ views.

Legal attack on Minnesota protest against police murders

By Jonas Boquist, 7 January 2015

In a further drive to punish and criminalize dissent, a Minnesota city attorney is seeking to prosecute protesters and compel organizers to pay the costs for the police mobilization.

Second New York cop funeral provides platform to muzzle opposition

By Daniel de Vries, 5 January 2015

The political mobilization behind the police continued at the funeral for the second slain office on Sunday.

US military preparing new generation of drones for urban combat

By Bryan Dyne, 5 January 2015

The Pentagon’s new intelligent and “autonomous” mini-drones will be capable of navigating difficult urban settings at speeds of 70 kilometers per hour.

Senate letter exposes FBI domestic warrantless cellphone data mining

By Thomas Gaist, 3 January 2015

New FBI internal regulations effectively authorize the bureau to conduct mass spying and data mining operations against cellphones in the United States.

Twitter post prompts arrest of teenager for “terrorist” threats against police

By Bryan Dyne, 31 December 2014

Social media posts have led to the arrests of two more people, in Fort Worth and Chicago, following the shooting of two police officers in New York City.

US House majority whip spoke at white supremacist conference

By Gabriel Black, 31 December 2014

Representative Steven Scalise, the third most powerful GOP member in Congress, spoke at an international conference of neo-Nazis and white supremacists in 2002.

A political mobilization of the American police

By Patrick Martin, 29 December 2014

The funeral Saturday for a policeman shot to death in New York City was used to intimidate widespread popular opposition to police brutality and violence.

Internal NSA reports detail violation of laws, regulations

By Thomas Gaist, 27 December 2014

Documents released by the NSA itself show that agents regularly violate legal restrictions on surveillance of US citizens.

Police shooting of teen provokes protests in Berkeley, Missouri

By Nick Barrickman, 27 December 2014

After the killing of Martin, protests broke out at the scene near Ferguson, with police arresting several demonstrators.

Arrests for social media posts follow NYPD shootings

By Matthew MacEgan, 27 December 2014

Several people have been arrested for allegedly making “threatening” statements, either verbally or on social media, in many states, including New York, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Massachusetts and Vermont.

New York City police pledge “wartime” response to killing of two officers

By Sandy English, 22 December 2014

The killing of two police officers in New York City this weekend has been followed by a near-mutinous response from the city’s police department, with demands for a crackdown on protests against police violence.

Prosecutor in Michael Brown case knowingly presented false testimony favorable to Ferguson cop

By Andre Damon, 22 December 2014

The revelation underscores the fact that the grand jury proceeding that failed to indict Darren Wilson was a legal fraud.

National Guard called up in response to Milwaukee protest over police violence

By Kristina Betinis, 22 December 2014

The activation of the National Guard is in anticipation of protests over a decision on whether or not to indict a Milwaukee police officer who killed unarmed Dontre Hamilton.

What is in the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture: Part three

By Eric London, 22 December 2014

This is the third of three articles summarizing the contents of the unclassified executive summary of the US Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA torture program.

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.

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

By Sandy English, 1 November 2014

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

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.

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.