Democratic Rights in the US

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

By Kevin Martinez, 19 April 2014

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

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

By Sandy English, 18 April 2014

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

FBI infiltrates Guantanamo detainee’s defense team

By Gabriel Black, 16 April 2014

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

One year since the Boston Marathon bombing

By Barry Grey, 15 April 2014

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

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

By Mike Ingram, 14 April 2014

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

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

By D. Lencho and Stuart Winters, 12 April 2014

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

More attacks on right to vote in US states

By Ed Hightower, 10 April 2014

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

Judge dismisses lawsuit challenging drone assassinations of US citizens

By Tom Carter, 7 April 2014

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

Harvard University report endorses police state measures in Boston Marathon lockdown

By Nick Barrickman, 7 April 2014

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

Texas carries out lethal injection with drug from unidentified source

By Kate Randall, 5 April 2014

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

CIA torture and the threat of dictatorship

By Patrick Martin, 3 April 2014

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

Mississippi throws out murder conviction of death row inmate Michelle Byrom

By Matthew MacEgan, 2 April 2014

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

Congressional report whitewashes government’s role in Boston Marathon bombing

By Nick Barrickman, 1 April 2014

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

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

By Gabriel Black, 1 April 2014

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

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

By Thomas Gaist, 31 March 2014

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

New evidence of US intelligence links to Boston Marathon bomber

By Nick Barrickman, 31 March 2014

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

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

By Eric London, 31 March 2014

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

US appeals court upholds reactionary Texas anti-abortion law

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

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

UN report details US human rights abuses

By Thomas Gaist, 29 March 2014

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

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

By Gabriel Black, 28 March 2014

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

The fraud of Obama’s NSA “reform”

By Joseph Kishore, 27 March 2014

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

California police departments capture cellphone data

By Gabriel Black, 27 March 2014

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

Florida prosecutor’s report whitewashes FBI killing of Ibragim Todashev

By Ed Hightower, 27 March 2014

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

Police shooting of New Mexico homeless man caught on video

By D. Lencho and Stuart Winter, 27 March 2014

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

Former President Jimmy Carter says NSA likely spying on his communications

By Andre Damon, 26 March 2014

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

US Supreme Court hears corporate challenge to Obamacare contraception provision

By Barry Grey, 26 March 2014

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

The International Socialist Organization’s silence on CIA spying

By Patrick Martin, 25 March 2014

The pseudo-left International Socialist Organization is covering up the far-reaching assault on democratic rights involved in the CIA spying scandal.

FBI agent to be cleared in killing of Ibragim Todashev

By Patrick Martin, 24 March 2014

The FBI has whitewashed every case of an agent killing or wounding a suspect over the last 20 years.

Constitutional conflict escalates between US Senate and CIA

By Patrick Martin, 22 March 2014

A letter from the Senate Majority Leader to the Justice Department renewed charges of unconstitutional CIA spying on the Senate.

US court ruling upholds state efforts to disenfranchise voters

By Patrick Martin, 21 March 2014

A judge in Wichita, Kansas has ordered the federal government to assist efforts to restrict voting by state officials in Kansas and Arizona.

US judge slams surveillance requests as “repugnant to the Fourth Amendment”

By Thomas Gaist, 21 March 2014

A federal judge ruled that warrant applications submitted by the Justice Department were unconstitutional.

The CIA spying scandal, Watergate and the decay of American democracy

By Eric London, 20 March 2014

Whereas Nixon’s cover-up involved illegal “dirty tricks” operations, the Obama administration is covering up even more serious crimes—an international program of state torture and assassination.

The NSA records “every single” phone call in a targeted country

By Andre Damon, 19 March 2014

The National Security Agency has developed and deployed a system capable of recording “100 percent” of the telephone calls made by residents of a targeted country.

The US media and the CIA’s spying on Congress

By Patrick Martin, 18 March 2014

A virtual blanket of silence covers the explosive allegations that the CIA spied on the US Senate committee charged with overseeing its activities.

Louisiana inmate exonerated after 30 years on death row

By E.P. Bannon, 18 March 2014

Glenn Ford, 64, was held in the brutal Angola penitentiary for three decades for a crime he did not commit.

Obama’s “high crimes and misdemeanors”

By Joseph Kishore and Barry Grey, 14 March 2014

The extraordinary speech delivered Tuesday on the Senate floor by Senator Dianne Feinstein provides grounds for immediate impeachment proceedings against top government officials, including President Barack Obama.

Leaked NSA documents expose agency’s sophisticated malware arsenal

By Thomas Gaist, 14 March 2014

NSA operations have already infected at least 80,000 computers according to documents provided by Edward Snowden.

The CIA, the Senate and the breakdown of American democracy

By Patrick Martin, 13 March 2014

The public clash between the Senate and the CIA reflects the effective collapse of democratic forms of governance in the United States.

Snowden denounces global mass surveillance at SXSW festival

By Thomas Gaist and Barry Grey, 11 March 2014

NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden gave a live interview Monday to the South by Southwest event in Austin, Texas.

The US media returns to the mysterious death of Ibragim Todashev

By Nick Barrickman and Patrick Martin, 11 March 2014

More than nine months after the unexplained shooting death of Ibragim Todashev by the FBI, the US media has suddenly revived interest in the case.

CIA caught spying on US Senate

By Tom Carter, 10 March 2014

The revelations of CIA spying on the legislative committee charged with overseeing it underscores the fact that America is actually run by an unelected, unaccountable military/intelligence apparatus.

US immigration detainees begin hunger strike

By Matthew MacEgan, 10 March 2014

Several hundred detainees at an immigration holding center in Tacoma, Washington have gone on hunger strike to demand better conditions at the facility and an end to deportations.

Senate Democrats reject Justice Department nominee over Abu-Jamal case

By Eric London, 8 March 2014

The Senate vote makes clear that admission to the political establishment requires a track record of unwavering opposition to democratic rights.

US Supreme Court hears oral arguments in police killing of unarmed driver and passenger

By Ed Hightower, 7 March 2014

The court may sanction the officers’ brutal and unnecessary actions through the qualified immunity doctrine, which sets a high standard for cases involving police misconduct.

California Democrat sponsors bill to expedite teacher removal

By Juan Verala Luz, 6 March 2014

The bill would intensify the assault on California teachers in the name of cutting costs.

US Justice Department protocols include sweeping attacks on press freedom

By Eric London, 4 March 2014

New protocols published by the Obama administration standardize widespread First Amendment violations.

Snowden documents show US, UK spy agencies infiltrate online groups

By Nick Barrickman, 27 February 2014

The NSA and GCHQ are employing deceptive tactics to monitor, manipulate and subvert online activities.

US Supreme Court backs police on warrantless searches

By Patrick Martin, 27 February 2014

The 6-3 majority backed the warrantless search of a home after police arrested the resident who had objected to it.

Judge dismisses suit against New York police spying on Muslims

By Sandy English, 26 February 2014

District Judge William Martini blamed the Associated Press for reporting on the surveillance rather than the government for its misconduct.

Arizona legislature enacts anti-gay legislation

By Ed Hightower, 26 February 2014

SB 1062 allows businesses to refuse service to gays on the flimsy pretext of respecting religious beliefs.

Report to the Workers Inquiry

The Detroit Bankruptcy: A Travesty of Democracy

By Tom Carter, 24 February 2014

This report was presented February 15 to the Workers Inquiry into the Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Attack on the DIA & Pensions, by Tom Carter, World Socialist Web Site legal correspondent.

US authorities seek national license plate tracking system

By Nick Barrickman, 21 February 2014

A national license plate tracking system sought by the Department of Homeland Security would provide officials with personal information on millions of individuals.

84-year-old nun sentenced to prison for “sabotaging” US preparations for war

By Gabriel Black, 21 February 2014

Sister Megan Rice and two others were sentenced to several years in prison under the Federal Sabotage Act of 1918 for a non-violent break-in and protest at a nuclear facility.

Leaked documents detail NSA surveillance operations against WikiLeaks

By Thomas Gaist, 19 February 2014

Files from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden show that the US has waged an international campaign against WikiLeaks, its founder Julian Assange and its supporters.

Department of Homeland Security invests $6.9 million to spy on Boston commuters

By Mike Ingram, 19 February 2014

The MBTA is installing hundreds of cameras on buses that will provide live video streams to transit police cruisers.

More Snowden documents expose US-Australian spying on Indonesia

By Mike Head, 17 February 2014

The latest leaks underscore the central role that Australian intelligence agencies play in the massive US spying operations in the Asia-Pacific region.

NSA spying poses “direct threat to journalism,” watchdog group warns

By Kate Randall, 14 February 2014

The Committee to Protect Journalists is warning that the spy agency’s dragnet of communications data threatens to make it “next to impossible for journalists to keep sources confidential.”

Australian attorney-general accuses Snowden of “endangering lives”

By Mike Head, 13 February 2014

Attorney-General Brandis amplified the earlier denunciation by Prime Minister Abbott of the NSA whistleblower as a “traitor.”

The state assassination of a US citizen foretold

By Tom Carter, 12 February 2014

If the government can order the assassination of US citizens in the name of national security, what can it not do? All the methods of a police state dictatorship become equally possible.

Obama White House targeting American for drone murder

By Bill Van Auken, 11 February 2014

The aim of the AP report is to lend a veneer of "transparency" and legality to a conspiratorial and unconstitutional program of state murder.

Former State Department employee pleads guilty to information leak

Obama’s war on journalism continues

By Ed Hightower, 11 February 2014

Stephen Jin-Woo Kim is one of nine US citizens to be prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act by the Obama administration as part of the latter’s war on journalism.

US Supreme Court justice declares mass internment inevitable

By Tom Carter, 11 February 2014

Referring to America’s mass internment of people of Japanese ancestry during the Second World War, current Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia declared, “You are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again.”

Two Brooklyn men freed after 21 years in prison for wrongful murder conviction

By Kate Randall, 11 February 2014

A record 87 exonerations were recorded in the United States in 2013.

Reddit forum blacklists WSWS

By the WSWS Editorial Board, 11 February 2014

In a blatant act of political censorship, the moderators of the r/socialism forum on the popular link aggregating site Reddit have decided to “blacklist” the World Socialist Web Site for a period of one month.

Jury acquits on terrorism, convicts on lesser charges

NATO Three face prison terms in frame-up

By Alexander Fangmann and Kristina Betinis, 10 February 2014

The court proceedings revealed the role of police provocateurs in framing the men on terrorism charges.

Texas executes Suzanne Basso, despite claims of mental incompetency

By Gabriel Black, 7 February 2014

Suzanne Basso was executed Wednesday despite last-minute appeals to the US Supreme Court arguing she was not mentally competent.

US threats mount against journalists, Snowden

By Patrick Martin, 6 February 2014

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee suggested that journalists who have reported on illegal NSA surveillance should be prosecuted.

Tech company “transparency reports” reveal massive NSA spying

By Thomas Gaist, 5 February 2014

The data, which cover only a small portion of surveillance operations, show the NSA requested content from tens of thousands of accounts during the first half of 2013.

US attorney general seeks death penalty for Boston Marathon bombing suspect

By Nick Barrickman, 31 January 2014

In seeking the death penalty, US authorities are creating the best conditions for extracting a plea deal that would prevent unwanted testimony from ever being heard in an open court.

Obama administration announces new deal with tech companies on NSA spying

By Thomas Gaist, 29 January 2014

New rules slightly modify an existing “gag order,” allowing telecommunications companies to make limited disclosures about surveillance orders they receive from the government.

US officials “want to kill me,” warns Edward Snowden

By Patrick Martin, 27 January 2014

“These people, and they are government officials, have said they would love to put a bullet in my head or poison me,” the former NSA contractor said in an interview broadcast by Germany’s ARD television network.

US Supreme Court extends exemption of contraception mandate for church-affiliated institution

By Alan Gilman, 27 January 2014

The US Supreme Court has extended a temporary order excepting Little Sisters of the Poor from certifying that it is a religious institution in order to be exempt from paying for contraception coverage.

Snowden defends his exposure of NSA’s mass spying in online chat

By Ed Hightower, 24 January 2014

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden answered questions online Thursday posted by an audience via Twitter.

The horror in Ohio’s death chamber

By Kate Randall, 22 January 2014

The execution of Dennis McGuire’s in Ohio Thursday, and details of the gruesome manner in which authorities carried out his death sentence, have evoked revulsion in the US and internationally.

Thirteen arrested at California protest against acquittal of police who murdered homeless man

By John Andrews, 20 January 2014

The protest was directed against the January 13 not guilty verdicts in favor of two former Fullerton officers charged with killing 37-year-old Kelly Thomas.

NSA collects nearly 200 million phone text messages a day

By Patrick O’Connor, 17 January 2014

The US National Security Agency has been intercepting and permanently storing billions of messages sent by ordinary people around the world.

Ohio prisoner suffers horrific death in botched execution

By Nick Barrickman, 17 January 2014

Ohio authorities used an untried combination of drugs to kill death row inmate Dennis McGuire.

Obama’s NSA “reform” defends illegal spying

By Bill Van Auken, 16 January 2014

The Obama White House is preparing an NSA “reform” that is aimed at institutionalizing illegal spying while suppressing future whistleblowers like Edward Snowden.

Obama administration moves to freeze lawsuit challenging spying programs

By Eric London, 13 January 2014

The pseudo-legal arguments used by the Obama administration to prevent the disclosure of state surveillance programs demonstrate the hostility of the political establishment to the democratic rights enumerated in the US Constitution.

Father of slain Boston bombing witness releases letter to Obama accusing FBI of murder

By Nick Barrickman and Barry Grey, 6 January 2014

In the letter, the elder Todashev accused the FBI of murdering his son in order to prevent him from testifying in court.

Supreme Court justice stays contraceptive mandate for some church-run institutions

By Patrick Martin, 3 January 2014

Concessions by the Obama administration have emboldened its opponents in right-wing religious groups.

Civil liberties lawyer Lynne Stewart wins “compassionate release” after four years in prison

By Fred Mazelis, 3 January 2014

The crusading attorney was serving a vindictive ten-year sentence stemming from her representation of an unpopular client on terrorism charges.

Snowden reveals massive National Security Agency hacking unit

By Robert Stevens, 31 December 2013

Among the TAO’s “most productive operations” is the direct interception of new PCs and other computer accessories ordered by individuals targeted by the NSA.

The pseudo-legal arguments for a police state

By Tom Carter, 31 December 2013

US District Judge William H. Pauley’s ruling in the case of ACLU v. Clapper on December 27, which sanctions NSA surveillance of the telephone records of the entire country’s population, has immense significance for democratic rights.

Pennsylvania court upholds life terms for crimes committed by juveniles

By Douglas Lyons, 30 December 2013

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that those convicted of crimes committed as juveniles must serve life terms, despite a US Supreme Court ruling that declared such sentences unconstitutional.

Federal judge rules NSA phone data collection is legal

By Patrick Martin, 28 December 2013

The court decision upheld the constitutionality of a program that, in the judge’s words, “vacuums up information about virtually every telephone call to, from, or within the United States.”

US government steps up attack on exposure of NSA spying

By Patrick Martin, 24 December 2013

The report issued last week by a White House panel on US surveillance programs has set the stage for an intensified effort to suppress any further revelations of illegal government spying.

Detainee ejected from courtroom at Guantanamo trial

By Fred Mazelis, 20 December 2013

One of the prisoners facing a possible death penalty refused to cooperate with the court, citing torture and abuse.

Obama advisory committee whitewashes US spying programs

By Joseph Kishore, 19 December 2013

The report released Wednesday by the Obama administration’s hand-picked panel proposes minor reforms aimed at legitimizing the government’s illegal spying programs.

“Almost Orwellian”: US Judge indicts NSA spying

By Bill Van Auken, 18 December 2013

The ruling by Judge Richard Leon, while doing nothing to curb the NSA’s mass spying operations, nonetheless acknowledges that they embody the methods of a police state.

Federal judge holds NSA telephone surveillance unconstitutional

By John Burton, 17 December 2013

A federal judge in Washington, DC has ruled that the NSA’s collection of telephone data on virtually every person in the United States violates the Fourth Amendment’s protection against “unreasonable searches and seizures.”

White House-backed panel to call for cosmetic changes to illegal spying programs

By Joseph Kishore, 14 December 2013

A hand-picked panel is due to submit recommendations to the White House this weekend, part of efforts to ensure the continuation of mass spying programs revealed by Edward Snowden.

New documents expose more NSA programs

By Robert Stevens, 14 December 2013

The new documents were released as the European Union agreed to allow Edward Snowden to give evidence by video link to its committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs.

San Antonio, Texas university student slain by police

By Charles Abelard, 14 December 2013

Robert Cameron Redus was shot five times by an Alamo Heights police officer.

Trial underway in police killing of homeless man in California

By Gabriel Black, 9 December 2013

A trial has begun for two police officers charged with the killing of Kelly Thomas in Fullerton, California.

US congressional intelligence chiefs promote terror scare

By Bill Van Auken, 6 December 2013

The Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and her House Republican counterpart claimed in a televised interview that the threat of terrorism in the US is greater than ever.

US officials will no longer provide information on Guantanamo hunger strikers

By Fred Mazelis, 6 December 2013

In a logical extension of the brutal practice of force-feeding Guantanamo prisoners, their American jailers are denying the detainees any means of making their protest known to the public.

US tracks billions of cell phone location records daily

By Eric London, 5 December 2013

New revelations from Edward Snowden reveal that the US government collects five billion pieces of data per day on the exact location and movement of cell phone users across the globe.

New report documents “a living death” in US prisons

By Fred Mazelis, 3 December 2013

The United States leads the world in imprisonment, and a new report documents the unconstitutional use of cruel and unusual punishment.

Massachusetts: Chism case highlights prosecution of juveniles as adults

By John Marion, 2 December 2013

Philip Chism, 14, is to be tried as an adult in the murder of his teacher.