Jun 022012
 

 

* MEDEA BENJAMIN ON HOW DRONES MAY BE USED AGAINST US CITIZENS SOON

By Medea Benjamin, OR Books / Book Excerpt

Excerpt From “Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control”: 

The overwhelming US dominance in the use of drones is coming to an end. By 2011, American officials were already publicly fretting that the technology they have spent decades and billions of dollars developing is beginning to fall into the hands of other nations, friends and foes alike.

“From Desert Storm to the present, the US and its allies have had relatively exclusive access to sophisticated precision-strike technologies,” Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn, III remarked at a June 2011 conference in Washington on the future of war. Over the next decade or two, he said, “that technology will be increasingly possessed by other nations… thereby creating challenges for our ability to project power to distant parts of the globe.”

Indeed, Philip Alston, former UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, noted that an arms race spurred by the widespread use of unmanned aerial vehicles by the US government to assassinate its perceived enemies is already well under way. Over fifty countries have the technology and many of them—including Israel, Russia, Turkey, China, India, Iran, the United Kingdom, and France—either have or are seeking weaponized drones.

Some of these countries do not just possess the technology; they are already using it. […]

READ @ http://truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/9519-medea-benjamin-on-how-drones-may-be-used-against-us-citizens-soon

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* ‘FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS CAN BE TERMINATED’: WHEN COPS, CAMERAS DON’T MIX

By Bob Sullivan, MSNBC

The video is chilling, but it’s also a sign of the times.

“Your First Amendment rights can be terminated,” yells the Chicago police officer, caught on video right before arresting two journalists outside a Chicago hospital.  One, an NBC News photographer, was led away in handcuffs essentially for taking pictures in a public place.  He was released only minutes later, but the damage was done. Chicago cops suffered an embarrassing “caught on tape” moment, and civil rights experts who say cops are unfairly cracking down on citizens with cameras had their iconic moment.

Tales of reporters, protestors and citizen journalists being threatened or arrested for filming law enforcement officials during disputes are on the rise, critics say, with Occupy Wall Street protests a lightning rod for these incidents. The National Press Photographers Association claims it has documented 70 such arrests since September and, in May, called on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to focus attention on the issue. […]

READ / VIDEO @ http://redtape.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/01/11998060-first-amendment-rights-can-be-terminated-when-cops-cameras-dont-mix?lite

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* KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: PHOTOGRAPHERS

Source: ACLU

Taking photographs of things that are plainly visible from public spaces is a constitutional right – and that includes federal buildings, transportation facilities, and police and other government officials carrying out their duties. Unfortunately, there is a widespread, continuing pattern of law enforcement officers ordering people to stop taking photographs from public places, and harassing, detaining and arresting those who fail to comply. Learn more >>

When in public spaces where you are lawfully present you have the right to photograph anything that is in plain view. That includes pictures of federal buildings, transportation facilities, and police. Such photography is a form of public oversight over the government and is important in a free society.

When you are on private property, the property owner may set rules about the taking of photographs. If you disobey the property owner’s rules, they can order you off their property (and have you arrested for trespassing if you do not comply).

Police officers may not generally confiscate or demand to view your photographs or video without a warrant. If you are arrested, the contents of your phone may be scrutinized by the police, although their constitutional power to do so remains unsettled. In addition, it is possible that courts may approve the seizure of a camera in some circumstances if police have a reasonable, good-faith belief that it contains evidence of a crime by someone other than the police themselves (it is unsettled whether they still need a warrant to view them).

Police may not delete your photographs or video under any circumstances.

Police officers may legitimately order citizens to cease activities that are truly interfering with legitimate law enforcement operations. Professional officers, however, realize that such operations are subject to public scrutiny, including by citizens photographing them.

Note that the right to photograph does not give you a right to break any other laws. For example, if you are trespassing to take photographs, you may still be charged with trespass. […]

READ @ http://www.aclu.org/free-speech/know-your-rights-photographers

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* REPORTER MIKE ELK PHYSICALLY BLOCKED FROM ASKING HONEYWELL CEO A QUESTION

By Lee Fang, Republic Report

Republic Report attended a conference for “entrepreneurs” and small businesses today on Capitol Hill hosted by Congressman Tim Scott (R-SC). Although it was advertised as a lively discussion about economic policy, we witnessed staffers for Scott violently grabbing the mic from the only reporter who asked a critical question during the forum.

Mike Elk, a journalist for In These Times magazine, was called on during the question and answer portion of a morning panel to ask David Cote, the CEO of Honeywell, about his efforts to bust labor unions at a Honeywell-owned uranium plant. Elk asked Cote, who earlier in the event boasted about his company’s profit margins, about his labor practices and the recent news that a poorly trained worker used to replaced Honeywell’s organized workforce had allowed a release of radioactive gas. But before he could finish his question, a man in a suit working for the event repeatedly grabbed the microphone away from Elk. Watch the video here: […]

READ / VIDEO @ http://www.republicreport.org/2012/mike-elk-honeywell/

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* #OCCUPY MOVEMENT BEING LABELED AS “A DOMESTIC TERROR ORGANIZATION” BY FBI

Source: RT

From disorganised slackers to terrorists – the Occupy movement has seen its media image go from bad to worse over its nine months of existence. Protesters now even face accusations that they pose a threat not just to Corporate America, but to the country as a whole. But activists say it’s all just scaremongering to stifle the movement.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feNsw8r196M&feature=player_embedded

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* HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD OF UNITED STATES IN 2011

Editor’s note: The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China published a report titled “The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2011” on Friday. Following is the full text:

Source: China Daily

The State Department of the United States released its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011 on May 24, 2012. As in previous years, the reports are full of over-critical remarks on the human rights situation in nearly 200 countries and regions as well as distortions and accusations concerning the human rights cause in China. However, the United States turned a blind eye to its own woeful human rights situation and kept silent about it. The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2011 is hereby prepared to reveal the true human rights situation of the United States to people across the world and urge the United States to face up to its own doings.

I.

On life, property and personal security

The United States has mighty strength in human, financial and material resources to exert effective control over violent crimes. However, its society is chronically suffering from violent crimes, and its citizens’ lives, properties and personal security are in lack of proper protection. […]

READ @ http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2012-05/26/content_15392452.htm?bsh_bid=97885369

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* SENATE ADVANCES EXPANDED, ” ORWELLIAN” GOVERNMENT SURVEILANCE WITH FISA AMENDMENTS, CISPA

By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!

The Senate is closer to renewing controversial measures that critics say would allow the emails and phone calls of U.S. citizens to be monitored without a warrant. The Select Committee on Intelligence has voted to extend controversial amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that were set to expire at the end of this year. We speak with Michelle Richardson of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has sued over the U.S. government’s surveillance practices, saying agencies would be able to tap their communications with clients and sources overseas. We’re also joined by William Binney, who served in the National Security Agency for nearly 40 years, including a stint as technical director of its World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group. Since retiring from the NSA in 2001, Binney has warned that the NSA’s data-mining program has become so vast that it could “create an Orwellian state.” “This is a continuation of the mindless legislation that our Congress has been putting out just to justify what they’ve been doing for a decade or more,” Binney says. “Instead of living up to their oath of office [and] defend the Constitution, they’ve decided to violate the civil liberties and the rights of all U.S. citizens.” The Senate is also set to vote soon on the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act — a bill opposed by many civil liberties and privacy groups.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxvITCXcBuM&feature=player_embedded

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