Democratic Rights in the US

Virginia executes prisoner despite claim of intellectual disability

By Kate Randall, 3 October 2015

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

Oklahoma governor stays Richard Glossip execution for 37 days

By Ed Hightower, 1 October 2015

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

Notes on police violence in the US

Delaware police shoot wheelchair-bound man a dozen times

By Ed Hightower, 26 September 2015

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

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

By Thomas Gaist, 19 September 2015

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

The reactionary campaign around Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis

By Tom Carter, 10 September 2015

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

California Democrat urges court to reinstate death penalty

By John Andrews and Alan Gilman, 5 September 2015

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

Anti-gay Kentucky county clerk jailed for contempt of court

By Ed Hightower, 4 September 2015

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

Northern Illinois town on lockdown as police manhunt continues

By Kristina Betinis, 3 September 2015

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

A judicial victory for illegal NSA spying

By Joseph Kishore, 29 August 2015

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

New York cops spied on activists against police violence

By Sandy English, 29 August 2015

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

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

By Evan Blake, 22 August 2015

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

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

By Isaac Finn, 22 August 2015

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

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

By Thomas Gaist, 17 August 2015

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

Chelsea Manning facing indefinite solitary confinement

By George Gallanis, 15 August 2015

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

Connecticut high court rules state death penalty unconstitutional

By Kate Randall, 15 August 2015

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

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

By James Cogan, 14 August 2015

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

Kentucky county official defies court order on gay marriage

By Patrick Martin, 14 August 2015

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

White House defends imprisonment of immigrant children

By Evan Blake, 13 August 2015

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

Ferguson protests continue in defiance of state of emergency

By Evan Blake, 12 August 2015

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

One year since the death of Michael Brown

By Andre Damon, 8 August 2015

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

ACLU files lawsuit over handcuffing of Kentucky school children

By Naomi Spencer, 6 August 2015

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

Notes on police violence in America

Dallas man dies after telling deputies he cannot breathe

By Tom Carter, 4 August 2015

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

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

By Evan Blake, 1 August 2015

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

Notes on police violence in America

Cleveland officer pepper sprays crowd of protesters

By Evan Blake, 28 July 2015

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

The police murder of Sandra Bland

By Andre Damon, 23 July 2015

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

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

By Bill Van Auken, 22 July 2015

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

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

By Thomas Gaist, 21 July 2015

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

Artist Shepard Fairey arrested on felony charges for Detroit graffiti

By Zac Corrigan, 20 July 2015

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

Texas prison death highlights police violence in America

By Andre Damon, 18 July 2015

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

Voter suppression laws on trial in North Carolina

By Matthew Taylor, 17 July 2015

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

US military launches Jade Helm domestic training operations

By Thomas Gaist, 16 July 2015

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

Missouri carries out first execution since Supreme Court lethal injection ruling

By Kate Randall, 15 July 2015

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

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

By Fred Mazelis, 15 July 2015

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

Notes on police violence in America

Alabama officers repeatedly use Taser on teenager having seizures

By Evan Blake, 15 July 2015

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

FBI Director Comey demands “backdoor” access to encrypted data

By Kevin Reed, 13 July 2015

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

WikiLeaks email release reveals hacking by governments worldwide

By Mike Head, 13 July 2015

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

South Carolina legislature ends display of Confederate flag

By Patrick Martin, 10 July 2015

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

Three decades on death row

Glenn Ford: An American tragedy

By Niles Williamson, 8 July 2015

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

US Justice Department finds that police provoked unrest in Ferguson

By Kevin Martinez, 3 July 2015

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

US military strategy for world domination targets Russia and China

By Patrick Martin, 2 July 2015

The 2015 National Military Strategy made public Wednesday outlines a shift in US planning from targeting terrorist groups to waging war against Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

FISA court reinstates bulk surveillance of US communications

By Thomas Gaist, 2 July 2015

The move by the secret FISA court follows the passage of the “USA Freedom Act,” which codifies bulk surveillance while transferring data collection to telecommunication companies.

The manhunt for Richard Matt and David Sweat: High Sierra in upstate New York

By David Walsh, 2 July 2015

Raoul Walsh’s High Sierra came to mind in the wake of the sad, predictable end to the three-week manhunt for escaped convicts Matt and Sweat.

US Supreme Court upholds “excruciating” executions

By Joseph Kishore, 30 June 2015

The US Supreme Court on Monday ruled that executions using the sedative midazolam can go forward.

The US Supreme Court and marriage equality

By Tom Carter, 27 June 2015

The Supreme Court decision invalidates laws in a minority of US states that prohibit recognition of same-sex marriage and arbitrarily discriminate against homosexuals.

New York City claims reforms at Rikers amid further evidence of prisoner abuse

By Fred Mazelis, 25 June 2015

As reports of horrific conditions at the prison continue to mount, the city has agreed to a slate of minor reforms proposed by the Obama Justice Department

Freddie Gray’s death was a homicide, autopsy confirms

By Kevin Martinez, 25 June 2015

The state medical examiner’s office ruled that Gray suffered a “high-energy injury” to his neck and spine after being arrested and given a “rough ride” by Baltimore police.

US deported 260,000 for drug offenses over five-year period

By Tom Hall, 18 June 2015

Even legal immigrants spend months or years in prison without bail awaiting deportation for minor drug offenses, according to a report issued this week by Human Rights Watch.

US Supreme Court upholds arbitrary executive power in immigration visa case

By Tom Carter, 16 June 2015

The Supreme Court endorsed the Obama administration’s assertion of the arbitrary power to deny immigration visas based on vague invocations of the so-called “war on terror.”

The Magna Carta and democratic rights

By Richard Hoffman and Mike Head, 15 June 2015

Today, 800 years after the Magna Carta, the international working class confronts an historic assault on its fundamental democratic rights.

Police killed over 500 people in the US this year

By Tom Hall and Andre Damon, 12 June 2015

American cops have killed more than three people a day over the past six months.

US appeals court upholds sweeping Texas abortion restrictions

By Kate Randall, 12 June 2015

The Texas bill is among a host of laws in US states seeking to limit the constitutional right of women to an abortion as ruled by the US Supreme Court in 1973.

Protests follow police terrorizing of teens at Texas pool party

By Tom Hall, 10 June 2015

Officer Eric Casebolt was caught on bystander video attacking a group of high school students at a pool party near Dallas.

US government paid millions in Social Security benefits to ex-Nazis

By Thomas Gaist, 4 June 2015

Between 1962 and 2015, more than 130 former Nazis received at least $20 million worth of Social Security retirement benefits.

“USA Freedom Act”: A fig leaf for illegal spying

By Patrick Martin, 4 June 2015

The press coverage has falsely portrayed the USA Freedom Act as a major effort to curb police-state surveillance methods in the United States.

US Senate approves extension of NSA spying

By Patrick Martin, 3 June 2015

The grossly misnamed USA Freedom Act extends the majority of the surveillance powers first established under the Patriot Act.

FBI operates spy planes over dozens of US cities

By a reporter, 3 June 2015

More than 50 planes, equipped with video and cellphone surveillance equipment, are involved.

Report: Invasive US airport screenings unsuccessful at finding concealed weapons

By Tom Hall, 3 June 2015

The TSA was unable to detect undercover DHS agents smuggling fake guns and even a bomb, indicating that the agency’s real function has little to do with preventing terrorism.

US Senate prepares to extend NSA spy powers

By Thomas Gaist, 2 June 2015

The USA Freedom Act “surveillance reform” legislation reauthorizes components of the Patriot Act that have served as the pseudo-legal basis for warrantless mass surveillance.

More than a quarter of Chicago county jail inmates suffer severe mental illness

By George Marlowe, 1 June 2015

The dilapidated Cook County Jail on Chicago’s highly impoverished west side houses more mentally ill people than any hospital in the US.

The fraudulent debate over NSA reform

By Patrick Martin, 30 May 2015

Whether Section 215 of the Patriot Act is extended or allowed to expire, the vast US government apparatus for spying on the American people will continue unabated.

Chicago residents speak on police torture at Homan Square “black site”

By George Marlowe, 18 May 2015

Reporters from the WSWS spoke to workers and youth about recent revelations of torture at Homan Square as well as the decaying social conditions in Chicago.

Federal court sentences Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death

By Nick Barrickman, 16 May 2015

The death sentence is the barbaric culmination of a trial that has excluded any examination of the fundamental political issues raised by the Boston Marathon bombing.

New torture allegations from Chicago “black site”

By David Brown, 16 May 2015

Further allegations have surfaced of sexual abuse and torture by the Chicago Police Department at the secret Homan Square interrogation facility.

No charges in Madison, Wisconsin police killing of unarmed youth

By Niles Williamson, 13 May 2015

The killing of teenager Tony Robinson by Madison police officer Matt Kenny on March 6 had generated student walkouts and protests by thousands of workers and youth.

Swedish Supreme Court rejects Julian Assange’s appeal of arrest warrant

By Robert Stevens, 13 May 2015

The ruling is another blatant trampling on the democratic rights of Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

US judge throws out gag law directed against prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal

By Fred Mazelis, 13 May 2015

The judge declared Pennsylvania’s Revictimization Relief Act, aimed at silencing political prisoner Abu-Jamal, to be “manifestly unconstitutional.”

Ex-Guantanamo child detainee Omar Khadr released on bail

By Carl Bronski, 12 May 2015

The Conservatives have gone to extraordinary lengths to prolong Khadr’s ordeal since he was repatriated, fighting to ensure he remains behind bars.

NSA conducts real-time analysis of spoken communications

By Zaida Green, 8 May 2015

The US National Security Agency has been automatically transcribing, analyzing, and tagging vocal electronic communications for almost a decade.

Re-sentencing leaves Atlanta educators still facing years in prison

By Kranti Kumara and Jerry White, 5 May 2015

From the beginning, the Atlanta case has been a political vendetta aimed at further discrediting public school teachers and accelerating the process of privatizing public education.

BP and Steelworkers union reach sellout deal to end three-month Indiana refinery strike

By Marcus Day, 5 May 2015

Even as it rewards its executives and shareholders, BP has repeatedly claimed that it must cut costs and impose harsh working conditions to remain competitive.

Wayne County, Michigan “Recovery Plan” guts public worker pensions, health benefits

By Johanna Murger, 5 May 2015

Executive Warren Evans says the “strong medicine” in his financial plan is the only way to avoid emergency management in the county that includes Detroit.

Baltimore rally against police brutality encourages illusions in Democrats

By Nick Barrickman and Jerry White, 4 May 2015

The response to the eruption of anger over the police murder of Freddie Gray has combined repression with the cultivation of a new layer of careerists steeped in identity politics.

“It is a war zone”

Baltimore workers and youth speak out

By our reporters, 4 May 2015

Residents spoke about what it is like living in Baltimore, describing a situation of everyday police violence and economic desperation.

Violent arrests of protesters follow charges against Baltimore cops in murder of Freddie Gray

By Jerry White, 2 May 2015

The prosecutor’s action was a highly political decision, made in close consultation with the Obama administration, as protests in the city expanded and a wave of solidarity demonstrations spread across the country.

The role of the Maryland’s “Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights”

By Joe Williams, 2 May 2015

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has sought to divert popular anger over the police killing of Freddie Gray by claiming that the investigation of Gray’s death is hampered by a controversial law known as the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights (LEOBR).

Sentencing phase of Boston Marathon bombing trial underway

By Tom Hall, 2 May 2015

None of the most essential questions, relating to the unexplained connections between the federal government and the Tsarnaev family, have been raised thus far in the proceedings, which began on April 21.

US Supreme Court hears oral arguments on same-sex marriage cases

By Evan Blake, 29 April 2015

Nearly fifty years after the Supreme Court ruled that the right to marriage applied to interracial couples, the Court today is split on whether to allow states to ban same-sex marriage.

Former CIA head Petraeus gets wrist-slap sentence for leaking classified material

By Tom Hall, 27 April 2015

While Petraeus received two years’ probation, whistleblowers such as Chelsea Manning face the full wrath of the state for leaking state secrets.

Obama’s drone warfare: Assassination made routine

By Patrick Martin, 25 April 2015

President Obama’s admission that CIA drone missiles killed two hostages held by Al Qaeda has evoked no significant questioning of the program of targeted killings.

Charges dropped against California man who spent 36 years behind bars

By Kate Randall, 24 April 2015

Michael Hanline was released from prison after an analysis of DNA evidence cleared him.

US admits FBI falsified evidence to obtain convictions

By Kate Randall, 20 April 2015

It is highly likely that innocent people were executed based on fraudulent FBI testimony.

Missouri executes mentally disabled inmate

By Thomas Gaist, 18 April 2015

Defense attorneys had argued that the execution should be stayed in light of the state’s refusal to disclose the source of the drug cocktail to be used in the execution.

US government targeted second American citizen for assassination

By Andre Damon, 14 April 2015

In a lead article posted Monday, the New York Times revealed the name of an American citizen who had been placed on the so-called “kill list” for drone assassination.

Virginia’s Democratic governor moves to expand police surveillance powers

By Nick Barrickman, 13 April 2015

The move to undermine the population’s protections against police spying is of a piece with the anti-democratic policies undertaken by the Democratic Party nationwide.

Texas executes mentally ill man who shot police officer

By Gabriel Black, 11 April 2015

The execution took place the same day that Oklahoma passed a law allowing prisoners to be killed by nitrogen gas asphyxiation.

California police caught on video beating man after chase

By Zaida Green, 11 April 2015

After surrendering peacefully, Francis Pusok was shocked with a Taser twice and struck 58 times by police.

Killer cop in South Carolina shooting had history of brutality

By Andre Damon, 10 April 2015

The North Charleston, South Carolina police department exonerated Michael Slager after he repeatedly used a Taser on an innocent and unarmed man in 2013.

Workers and youth denounce social conditions, express no confidence in Chicago mayoral candidates

By George Marlowe and George Gallanis, 6 April 2015

Workers and youth in Chicago speak out on deteriorating social conditions in the final days before the mayoral election runoff vote.

“Religious freedom” and the assault on democratic rights in America

By Eric London, 4 April 2015

The attack on anti-discrimination laws is part of a drive to erode gains made through the social struggles of the working class, including the fight against segregation.

Two New York women snared in FBI terror “sting”

By Bill Van Auken, 4 April 2015

As in previous prosecutions, the alleged plot would not have existed without the FBI’s intervention.

Mothers on hunger strike at Texas immigrant detention center

By D. Lencho, 4 April 2015

Dozens of detainees at the Karnes County Residential Center have refused to eat until they are allowed to go before a judge to have their asylum pleas heard.

Virginia police force confession from deaf, homeless man

By Joe Williams, 4 April 2015

Abreham Zemedagegehu spent six weeks in the county jail, essentially incommunicado, until he confessed to a crime that had not taken place.

Obama declares “national emergency” based on alleged cyber threats from Russia, China

By Thomas Gaist, 3 April 2015

In an online statement, Obama made clear that the new powers granted in his latest executive order will be used to target America’s main geopolitical rivals.

The Atlanta “cheating” case and the crisis of public education in the US

By Jerry White, 3 April 2015

The conviction of Atlanta educators on “racketeering” charges takes place in a country where bankers and other corporate criminals ravage the lives of tens of millions with impunity.

Leaked document exposes repressive character of US airport screenings

By Zaida Green, 1 April 2015

The Intercept published a document outlining the criteria used by the TSA to flag airline travelers for interrogation.

Indiana governor signs bill allowing for discrimination on religious grounds

By Nick Barrickman, 31 March 2015

Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act is a reactionary attack on democratic rights and a violation of the constitutional principle of separation of church and state.