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We USA are superior U are inferior // Justice the American way

Steven Gaal

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This Man Faces Life in Prison for ... Rapping (LINK)

I've heard free speech isn't free, and Brandon Duncan, who raps as Tiny Doo, has learned that the hard way.

Until recently, Mr. Duncan spent eight months in jail on "gang conspiracy" charges arising from several shootings in San Diego from May 2013 to February 2014. Prosecutors admit he wasn't at the scene of the crimes, and they have no evidence linking him to the shootings. Mr. Duncan, who has no criminal record, also says he had no knowledge of the crimes. But the district attorney charged him all the same because he raps about shootings.

That's not only absurd; it's a blatant violation of the First Amendment.

Mr. Duncan, after all, is an artist, whose music reflects what he's seen. "I'm just painting a picture of urban street life," he recently told CNN's Don Lemon. "The studio's my canvas .... I'm not telling anyone to go out and kill somebody or go do something. I'm not doing anything differently than [Grammy-winning rapper] The Game."

Webmaster's Commentary:

Apparently, the San Diego District Attorney, eager for another "scalp" of conviction on his belt, has decided that he is going to convict this man through what appears to be "Code Napoleon" law, where the accused is considered guilty until proven innocent.

I would like to politely suggest to this guy that this is America, in the 21st century, and that the concept here, just in case he did not get the memo in law school (perhaps he should his alma mater over this) is that in this country, a person is considered innocent until proven guilty.

I sincerely doubt that rational people would convict a person about singing about what he knows, and for this gentleman, that is death, no real protection from police abuse, and that power comes from physical, brutal control of one's turf.

Unfortunately, this is not only Mr. Duncan's reality: it is also the reality for far too many minority kids in this country.

But the answer is not convicting people for writing about what they know, but changing that reality. That is going to take a lot of hard work, but will ultimately be worth it to American society as a whole.

Please remember: the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world.

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Polaneczky: TSA jails innocent traveler when he asks to file a complaint
Roger Vanderklok and his wife, Eleanor, who thought the worst when her husband went off the grid after a bag screening at PHL. DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

APPARENTLY, working as a supervisor for the Transportation Security Administration at Philadelphia International Airport comes with a perk: You get to throw people in jail for no good reason and still keep your job.

If that's not the case, why is Charles Kieser still employed by the TSA?

Roger Vanderklok had the misfortune of going through Kieser's security-screening area at 8 a.m. Jan. 26, 2013, in Terminal B.

Vanderklok, 57, is a Philly architect who runs half-marathons. Twice a month, he flies around the country for weekend races.

On this day, he was headed to Miami. In his carry-on bag was a packet of PowerBars and a heart-monitoring watch. When the bag went through the X-ray scanner, the items looked suspicious to a TSA agent whom Kieser supervises.

For the next 30 minutes, screeners checked the bag several times. Vanderklok told them that a tube-shaped case in the bag contained his watch. Then he was asked if his bag contained "organic matter." Vanderklok said no, as he thought "organic matter" meant fruits or vegetables.

PowerBars, which contain milk, grain and sugar, are considered "organic matter" and can resemble a common explosive. Terrorists often use a small electronic device, like a watch, to detonate the explosive. Hence the agent's concern.

Once the items were deemed harmless, Vanderklok says, he told Kieser that if someone had only told him what "organic matter" meant, he could have saved everyone a lot of trouble. Kieser then became confrontational. Vanderklok says he calmly asked to file a complaint. He then waited while someone was supposedly retrieving the proper form.

Instead, Kieser summoned the Philadelphia Police. Vanderklok was taken to an airport holding cell, and his personal belongings - including his phone - were confiscated while police "investigated" him.

Vanderklok was detained for three hours in the holding cell, missing his plane. Then he was handcuffed, taken to the 18th District at 55th and Pine and placed in another cell.

He says that no one - neither the police officers at the airport nor the detectives at the 18th - told him why he was there. He didn't find out until he was arraigned at 2 a.m. that he was being charged with "threatening the placement of a bomb" and making "terroristic threats."

Vanderklok's Kafkaesque odyssey finally ended at 4 a.m., when his wife paid 10 percent of his $40,000 bail.

When I heard this story, my first thought was that Vanderklok had to have said or done something outrageous for others to respond with such alarm. In fact, Kieser said as much at Vanderklok's trial on April 8, 2013.

Under oath, Kieser told the court that he had been monitoring Vanderklok's interaction with the bag screener because "I saw a passenger becoming agitated. Hands were in the air. And it's something we deal with regularly. But I don't let it go on on my checkpoint."

Kieser intervened, he said, and that's when Vanderklok complained that the screening was "delaying him." While he said this, he "had both hands with fingers extended up toward the ceiling up in the air at the time and shaking them."

Vanderklok also "put his finger in my face. And he said, 'Let me tell you something. I'll bring a bomb through here any day I want.' And he said you'll never find it."

Vanderklok repeated the aggressive finger-pointing two more times, Kieser testified.

But here's the thing: Airport surveillance videos show nothing of the sort.

Throughout the search, Vanderklok appears calm. His laptop computer is tucked under his arms and his hands are clasped in front of him the entire time. Without any fuss, he follows TSA agents when they move from one part of the screening area to another. He even smiles a little.

Not once does he raise his hands. Not once does he point a finger in Kieser's face. If anyone is becoming agitated, the video shows, it is Kieser.

Neither Kieser nor his colleagues appear alarmed about the bomb threat Vanderklok has allegedly made. They chat and laugh with one another behind a desk, check their cellphones. One sips a soda, another wanders around the area, straightening bins. Two more assist an elderly couple with their wheelchairs.

They do not summon the FBI, clear passengers from the area, don protective gear or appear to do anything suggesting there's looming danger.

And here's another thing: Kieser alleged that Vanderklok told him, "I'll bring a bomb through here any day I want. And . . . you'll never find it." But that's not what Kieser told police, according to the report taken by the responding officer. The report reads that Vanderklok, frustrated, told Kieser, "Anybody could bring a bomb in here and nobody would know."

The first statement is a threat, forbidden by law. The second is an opinion, protected by it.

Vanderklok says he made neither statement. Yet he was treated like the Shoe Bomber.

Even talking about it now, two years later, rattles him.

"I was scared to death. I have never been arrested in my life, never had handcuffs put on," he says. "Throughout the night, I was in a dark place; no one knew where I was. I thought, 'I could fall off the face of the earth right now, and no one would know it.' "

While Vanderklok was worrying, so was his wife, Eleanor. When her husband travels, his routine is to call her when he boards the plane, when he lands and when he arrives at his hotel. This time, no calls. Nor did he respond to the increasingly panicked messages she left him.

She called his Miami hotel. He'd never checked in. She called the airline. He'd never boarded the plane. She called the city's hospitals. He wasn't in any of them. Finally, she called 9-1-1.

"I was so scared. I didn't know what to do with myself," says Eleanor Vanderklok. "A million scenarios go through your head."

She was waiting for an officer to arrive at the couple's Center City home to take her report when the phone rang. A police officer told her that her husband had been arrested and was awaiting arraignment. When she learned why, she was shocked.

"My husband has been on planes hundreds of times," she says. "Not once was there a problem. This was out of the blue."

At trial, Kieser was the first and only witness to testify. Municipal Judge Felice Stack acquitted Vanderklok of all charges within minutes of hearing Kieser's testimony. Vanderklok's lawyer, Thomas Malone, didn't get a chance to question the Philadelphia police officers and detectives who were involved in Vanderklok's arrest. Nor did he get to show the surveillance video that contradicted Kieser.

"The police at the airport never even questioned Mr. Vanderklok. They just detained him," says Malone. "The detectives at the 18th [District] also never spoke with him. He was charged based on a single allegation by one TSA employee."

Last week, Malone filed a suit on Vanderklok's behalf against the TSA, the Philadelphia Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security, alleging that Vanderklok was willfully deprived of his liberty because he had the gall to say that he wanted to file a complaint.

The city and the TSA declined to comment on the case. So allow me to.

Vanderklok's arrest reeks of payback from a TSA supervisor who - to give him the benefit of the doubt - was perhaps having a bad day on Jan. 26, 2013.

But that same supervisor's behavior on April 8, when he swore under oath to things that were not true, is not evidence of a bad day. It's evidence of someone who will stick to his story even if it means an innocent man may go to jail.

I don't know if that makes Kieser a bad man. But it sure doesn't make him a very good TSA employee.

It's unbelievable that he still has his job.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150204_TSA_jails_innocent_traveler_when_he_asks_to_file_a_complaint.html#cLwhQ8OrBmuFgBKw.99
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Epidemic Of Police Brutality Now Sweeping Through Schools (LINK)

There are now daily stories emerging of police officers assigned to schools assaulting and abusing children, indicating that the epidemic of police brutality in America is more far reaching than previously thought.

Today’s woeful tale is set in Houston, Texas where a former student of South Houston High School is suing the Pasadena Independent School District and an offending police officer after it emerged he had received a severe beating with a baton merely for cussing at the cop.

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Sheriff charges 9-year-old autistic child with making bomb threat (LINK)

FOX 5 I-team Senior Reporter Dale Russell has been investigating a bomb threat made at one Georgia elementary school in Upson County that has some asking if “zero tolerance” has gone too far. A 9-year-old fourth grader with autism scribbled “Bone Thrat” on a bathroom wall. After evacuating the school, the local sheriff's department charged the boy with a felony: terroristic threats and acts.
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06.02.2015 Author: Janet Phelan

Did the United States Department of Justice Just Lie to the U.N.?

439268-300x168.jpgFor Americans, confidence in government is at a low. Growing numbers of people now question nearly any declaration made by the US government, particularly when its assertions are either

1) addressing terrorism or

2) addressing domestic policies.

Recent statements by David Bitkower, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, United States Department of Justice to the United Nations Convention Against Torture, statements made during the review by that body of the US and its torture policies during the past five years, could be considered as subsumed under both of the above two categories. And sadly, Bitkower misrepresented actions taken by the US DOJ.

The statements in question were made this past November when UNCAT convened to review the torture record of the US and were subsequently included in the official UNCAT report without substantiating documents and indeed, without questions being raised as to the veracity of Mr. Bitkower’s assertions.

At a time when torture has increasingly become a concern, one might expect the US to put some spit shine on its face to the world. Bitkower was certainly in the polishing mode, as his presentation of the DOJ’s “Critical Role in Upholding US Obligations under Convention Against Torture” was rife with self congratulatory references to the attention that the US government is giving to its torture record, both internationally and domestically.

However, Bitkower went too far. While expounding on domestic prosecutions for police abuse, a subject which is always of concern when one discusses torture, Bitkower made a pronouncement that was so far from reality that one wonders how the UN could have swallowed a whopper of this magnitude without gagging.

Declared Bitkower,

“The vast majority of law enforcement officers in the United States perform their jobs with integrity and respect for the communities they serve. But when systemic problems emerge, and officers abuse their power, the Justice Department uses its authority to implement meaningful reform and hold officers accountable under the law.

In the civil context, the Department’s Civil Rights Division has opened over 20 investigations into allegations of systemic police department violations over the past five years. “

And then came the whopper. Said Bitkower, “In the criminal realm, we have prosecuted over 330 police officers for misconduct in the last five years.”

Before delving into the magnitude and implications of this patently false statement, let’s fill in some blanks here. We are going to focus here initially on people killed by police, as a worst case scenario of potential police abuse.

The numbers of people killed by police officers in the US is admittedly a cloudy figure. According to estimates, the numbers run somewhere between a thousand and two thousand a year. While the FBI is supposed to maintain a database on these killings, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal revealed the inadequacy of this database.

According to the WSJ article, local police agencies are not fulfilling their mandate to report these killings.

A non-government website, Killedbypolice.net, is tracking these killings through media reports. The first seventeen days of January saw 53 people killed by police throughout the US, according to this website. The website tracked 1103 such deaths in 2014.

In an interview this past week, Franklin Zimring, William G. Simon Professor of Law at UC Berkeley Law School, expanded upon the difficulty of obtaining an accurate headcount. In an interview last week, Professor Zimring pointed out that all the deaths at hands of the police may not get news coverage; indeed, some may not be reported at all.

So with these thoughts in mind, and understanding that the numbers reported either by the FBI or by independent calculations may be low, one might figure that the “330 prosecutions for police abuse” cited by Bitkower might be realistic.

However, as it turns out, Bitkower was blowing a huge plume of smoke up the collective behinds of the international community when he made this statement to the United Nations. According to Professor Zimring, this figure is “very suspicious. I would doubt there were as many criminal prosecutions as the fingers on one hand.”

A review of the website for the US DOJ, Civil Rights Criminal Division produced four cases in which the US DOJ successfully prosecuted police for misconduct in the past five years.

There was no mention of any unsuccessful prosecutions.

In fact, a spokesperson for the DOJ was unable to come up with a single prosecution by the DOJ for police abuse in the relevant five year time period. In response to a request for the documentation of these criminal prosecutions, George Horneado of the DOJ press office replied with a document listing the consent decrees created by the DOJ in recent years.

Consent decrees are not prosecutions. In this context, Consent decrees are arrangements between the DOJ and a local police agency wherein the policies and actions of the police agency are subject to review and modification by the DOJ—without criminal prosecution. Quoting from the document provided from Horneado:

“In the past five fiscal years, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division has opened over 20

investigations into police departments, more than twice as many investigations than were opened in the previous five fiscal years.

The department has entered into 15 agreements with law enforcement agencies, including nine consent decrees.”

When it was pointed out to Horneado that a consent decree is not a criminal prosecution and that the request was for information on criminal prosecutions, Horneado declined to tender any information concerning these cases.

The police in the US seem to have tacit permission to murder US citizens. The recent uproar in both Ferguson and in New York over the separate failure to prosecute police for the murder of two unarmed black men are only the most recent incidents highlighting the latitude given police.

When the ACLU of Southern Oregon was recently approached with evidence that a local Internal Affairs department was covering for abusive police officers, the head of their legal department asserted, “The climate is not right now to address police abuse.”

If that is so, then Bitkower’s false assertions as to the record of the DOJ in criminally prosecuting police officers assumes a different dimension. If indeed abusive and murderous police are being given a pass for actions that deserve prosecution, then Bitkower’s whopper may be seen as a studied attempt to convince us otherwise.

As David Bitkower stated so earnestly to the United Nations in November:

My colleagues from the State Department have discussed ways in which the United States has not always lived up to its values. The Department of Justice has been part of the broad, long-lasting, and comprehensive effort to examine those failures and ensure they do not happen again. “

But the failure- to- protect inherent in allowing police to abuse without culpability is happening again. And again. David Bitkower, given the nature of his position in the US government, would be fully aware of underground policies which may be de facto promoting police abuse by giving police free rein to abuse and/or murder US citizens, without culpability. His efforts to portray the situation in an entirely different light could therefore be seen as an act of deliberate– and somewhat alarming– propaganda.


Janet C. Phelan, investigative journalist and human rights defender that has traveled pretty extensively over the Asian region, an author of a tell-all book EXILE, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook

First appeared: http://journal-neo.org/2015/02/06/did-the-united-states-department-of-justice-just-lie-to-the-u-n/

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By Robert Parry
When Silencing Dissent Isn't News (LINK)

The criminal case against ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern for "resisting arrest" when he was denied entry to a public speech by retired Gen. David Petraeus appears to be nearly over, but the image of police brutally shielding the mighty from a citizen's question remains troubling, writes Robert Parry.
Edited by Steven Gaal
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Indian Citizen Walking in Alabama Left Paralyzed After Police Encounter (LINK)

A visiting man from India who just arrived at his family’s home in Alabama has been partially paralyzed after an encounter with police while out for a walk.

Sureshbhai Patel, 57, was stopped by two Madison police officers along a neighborhood sidewalk, who later said they were responding to a suspicious person call.

"He was just walking on the sidewalk as he does all the time," said his son, Chirag Patel. "They put him to the ground."

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South Carolina Says It's A Felony For Prisoners To Look At Facebook; Sends Many To Solitary Confinement (LINK)

Dave Maass, over at EFF, has an absolutely insane story about how the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) added a special new level 1 felony charge (for reference: murder, rape, rioting and hostage-taking are all level 1 felonies) for... using a social network while in prison. Yes, these individuals are already prisoners, but this draconian law and even more draconian enforcement means that hundreds of South Carolina prisons are facing extended sentences and long stays in solitary confinement for... posting to their Facebook page.

Edited by Steven Gaal
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Police now use radar devices to ‘see’ inside homes, raising legal questions (LINK)




Police and social workers using govt questionnaire to see if you & your family could be terrorists (LINK)

Are you, your family or your community at risk of turning to violent extremism? That’s the premise behind a rating system devised by the National Counterterrorism Center, according to a document marked For Official Use Only.



"It’s no secret that if you go against the code of silence, and you report corruption, it will ruin your career."


Chicago, IL — Two Chicago police officers have launched a federal lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department. The allegations made against the department make the Gestapo look like the boy scouts.


Shannon Spalding and her partner Daniel Echeverria uncovered a massive level of corruption in their department, leading to the arrest of other officers.

After the first two cops had been initially arrested in their investigation, the department pulled the plug before any more officers could suffer the consequences of their actions.

"At one point, we were actually told the investigation was too big," Spalding said. "There were allegations of other supervisors as well, that we were never allowed to investigate."

"I think that the public should be very angry that corruption is allowed to continue, and that officers who want to report it are retaliated against," said Spalding. "The code of silence is so strong, the fear of what will happen to you is so strong, that nobody wants to come forward."

Echeverria and Spalding were subsequently blackballed and labelled as "IAD Rats."

The events following their investigation is what led to these two officers filing a federal lawsuit.

"My life, my safety my freedom was threatened," Spalding told NBC 5 Investigates. "I was subjected to daily harassment."

A third officer came forward and has given a sworn affidavit that corroborates the officers’ allegations. Twenty-year department veteran, Janet Hanna, says she witnessed the harassment these two officers faced after they were reassigned to her unit.




- See more at: http://xrepublic.tv/node/12266#sthash.pVLJChfo.dpuf

Edited by Steven Gaal
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Police Trash 90-Year-Old Woman’s Home in Search for Nonexistent Drugs (LINK)

A 90-year-old woman whose home was significantly damaged in a police drug raid says she was falsely targeted by Miami-area law enforcement.


Fort Lauderdale pays $65k for false arrest by police because ordering a slice of pizza is not a crime. (LINK)


WPD conducts violent no-knock raid: guess what they found (LINK)

The Wichita Police Department used a battering ram to enter an unlocked home near Reflection Ridge, thinking the home was a drug house because the men renting the expensive home were young, and had a lot of visitors. The police did not realize that the men were renting the home from one of the men's parents, who are living in Costa Rica. The police also did not realize that the home has a music studio, and that the men were helping many artists record their music.


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