Democratic Rights in the US

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.

Supreme Court rejects challenge to Wisconsin voter identification law

By Tom Carter, 30 March 2015

The law effectively disenfranchises 300,000 otherwise eligible voters in the state.

CIA helped spy on US cell phone data

By Zaida Green, 30 March 2015

The CIA worked with the Justice Department to develop a program to spy on US cell phone conversations and data.

Ohio man exonerated after almost four decades of wrongful imprisonment

By Evan Blake, 28 March 2015

A series of recent exonerations point to widespread misconduct by police and prosecutors in obtaining criminal convictions.

The firing squad returns to America

By Barry Grey, 26 March 2015

The revival of execution methods most people had long considered relics of a more barbaric past exposes the real state of class relations in America.

Philadelphia cops cleared in killing of 26-year-old

By Gabriel Black, 21 March 2015

The Philadelphia District Attorney announced Thursday that no charges will be brought against two police officers who stopped and killed Brandon Tate-Brown in December.

Federal court upholds Virginia’s solitary confinement policy

By Joe Williams, 19 March 2015

A federal appeals court upheld the state’s practice of automatically placing all death row inmates in solitary confinement until their execution.

Police arrest man in shooting of Ferguson police officers

By Nick Barrickman and Andre Damon, 16 March 2015

Despite a lack of evidence, St. Louis County authorities sought to associate Wednesday’s shooting with ongoing demonstrations against police violence.

Media, politicians seize on Ferguson shooting to blackguard protests against police violence

By Andre Damon, 14 March 2015

The wounding of two police officers in Ferguson, Missouri is being used to delegitimize mass anger over the unending wave of police killings in America.

UN torture investigator barred from US prisons

By Matthew MacEgan, 13 March 2015

A UN official lashed out at the US government for barring him from investigating federal prisons, as well as for being the only nation that sentences children to life in prison without parole.

Students protest Madison, Wisconsin police killing

By Niles Williamson, 10 March 2015

As many as 3,000 high school and college students converged inside the state capitol Monday afternoon to protest the police murder of unarmed teenager Anthony Robinson.

Polish court delays decision in Polanski extradition case

By Dorota Niemitz, 7 March 2015

The 81-year-old filmmaker testified February 25 for nine hours in Krakow in the extradition case filed against him by US authorities.

Justice Department report documents criminal abuse by Ferguson police

By Evan Blake, 6 March 2015

The report states that police in the St. Louis, Missouri suburb unlawfully arrest, beat, and taser residents.

Mayoral candidates silent on secret Chicago police prison

By Kristina Betinis, 6 March 2015

While more victims of police torture at Homan Square have come forward, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his liberal Democratic challenger, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, have said nothing.

Chicago’s Abu Ghraib

By Andre Damon, 27 February 2015

The Guardian newspaper has revealed the existence of a “black site” on the West Side of Chicago, where police detain, beat and torture prisoners.

Obama Justice Department: No federal charges to be filed in Trayvon Martin slaying

By Thomas Gaist, 27 February 2015

Three years after the killing of the unarmed teen in Florida, the US government announced it would not press civil rights charges against Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman.

Three New York men charged in alleged terror plot

By Bill Van Auken, 27 February 2015

As in so many similar “home-grown terrorism” cases brought by the government, a confidential informant was at the center of the alleged crimes.

Federal prison regulations violate constitutional rights

By Ed Hightower, 27 February 2015

New prison regulations isolate inmates from visitors, including their attorneys.

Inmates riot against miserable conditions at south Texas prison

By Evan Blake, 23 February 2015

Willacy County Correctional Center is one of fifteen federal for-profit prisons that house mostly undocumented immigrants under deplorable conditions.

Canada’s NDP belatedly opposes Conservatives’ draconian “anti-terror” bill

By Roger Jordan, 23 February 2015

The NDP is now striking a pose as a principled opponent of Bill C-51. In fact its opposition is two-faced and motivated by tactical, largely electoral, considerations.

Guantanamo in America

By Andre Damon, 21 February 2015

A report in the Guardian has revealed that a leading interrogator at Guantanamo Bay had used torture to extract false confessions as a police detective in Chicago.

US and UK intelligence agencies hacked cell phone encryption keys

By Nick Barrickman, 21 February 2015

The latest revelations of hacking of the world's largest SIM card company further expose the criminality of the NSA and GCHQ spying operations.

US court overturns “terrorism” charge against Australian Guantanamo prisoner

By Richard Phillips, 20 February 2015

The Australian government’s defence of the illegal incarceration and torture of David Hicks is a warning that it is preparing to ramp up the “war on terror” and its attacks on democratic rights.

Mounting violence against Muslims in America

By Tom Carter, 19 February 2015

The American political and media establishment bears a significant portion of the responsibility for the spurt of racist attacks on Muslims.

Alabama judge asks courts to defy order granting same-sex marriage licenses

By Eric London, 19 February 2015

Judge Roy Moore’s order amounts to a repudiation of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was passed after the American Civil War.

Report documents attacks on press freedom in US and Europe

By Nick Barrickman, 17 February 2015

Reporters Without Borders now ranks the United States below Niger and El Salvador on media freedom.

CIA whistleblower calls for prosecution of officials responsible for torture

By Tom Hall, 17 February 2015

John Kiriakou, the former CIA agent who helped reveal the agency’s use of waterboarding, was released from prison this month after serving a two-year sentence.

Lawsuits allege Missouri cities run “debtors’ prisons”

By Ed Hightower, 17 February 2015

Poor residents are routinely jailed for inability to pay traffic tickets, court costs and other debts in Ferguson and Jennings, Missouri.

Eleven-year-old Ohio girl charged with murder

By Evan Blake, 17 February 2015

The United States incarcerates more children than any other country in the world.

Notes on police violence in America

Indian grandfather partially paralyzed by Alabama police beating

By Tom Hall, 14 February 2015

57-year-old Indian national Sureshbhai Patel required spinal surgery after he was slammed into the ground by Madison police.

Study says US jails have become “massive warehouses” for the poor

By Tom Hall, 13 February 2015

A report by the Vera Institute of Justice compares American jails to debtors’ prisons and “de facto mental hospitals” housing prisoners unable to pay onerous fees.

US official admits to UK role in rendition to Diego Garcia

By Jean Shaoul, 9 February 2015

Britain colluded in the use of the British overseas territory of Diego Garcia by the US for its criminal activities.

Albuquerque moves to escalate evictions of homeless campers

By D. Lencho, 9 February 2015

Removal of the homeless has begun at a “tent city” near downtown, while new encampments have sprung up in other parts of the city.

US federal court hearing highlights widespread misconduct by prosecutors

By Ed Hightower, 6 February 2015

US prosecutors routinely use false testimony to obtain criminal convictions. They are rarely, if ever, punished for it.

Testimony of Moussaoui in civil suit implicates Saudi monarchy as principal sponsor of Al Qaeda

By Niles Williamson, 5 February 2015

Moussaoui’s account conforms to what is known about the open secret of the 9/11 attacks: that they were largely financed by one of the US’s chief allies in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia.

Notes on police violence in America

Video shows Baltimore school cop beating 13-year-old girl with baton

By Tom Hall, 5 February 2015

The school officer struck Diamond Neals on the forehead and pepper sprayed her two cousins.

UK: Blair government colluded in extraordinary rendition of Libyans

By Jean Shaoul, 2 February 2015

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair wrote to then-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi that he was “disappointed” that Britain was unable to send more regime opponents back to Libya.

Police murders and the criminalization of protest in America

By Andre Damon, 31 January 2015

The official response to protests across the US against police murders has been repression, the whitewashing of killer cops, and the linking of political opposition to terrorism.