Monday, December 20, 2010

Black-Out in DC: Pay No Attention to Those Veterans Chained to the White House Fence

by Dave Lindorff

There was a black-out and a white-out Thursday and Friday as over a hundred US veterans opposed to US wars in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world, and their civilian supporters, chained and tied themselves to the White House fence during an early snowstorm to say enough is enough.

Washington Police arrested 135 of the protesters, in what is being called the largest mass detention in recent years. Among those arrested were Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst who used to provide the president's daily briefings, Daniel Ellsberg, who released the government's Pentagon Papers during the Nixon administration, and Chris Hedges, former war correspondent for the New York Times.

No major US news media reported on the demonstration or the arrests. It was blacked out of the New York Times, blacked out of the Philadelphia Inquirer, blacked out in the Los Angeles Times, blacked out of the Wall Street Journal, and even blacked out of the capital's local daily, the Washington Post.

Read on...

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Vindication for G20 Protesters

by Linda McQuaig

In the aftermath of the G20 fiasco here last summer, one thing Torontonians agreed on was that such summits should be held in isolated venues — on military bases, on ocean-going vessels, on melting glaciers — anywhere but where lots of people reside.

But beyond being upset with the expense and disorder that weekend, many Torontonians (and city council) sided with the police, assuming that the arrest of 1,105 people must have somehow been justified, given the rampage of a small group through the downtown core.

What is now unmistakably clear — with the release of a searing report by Ontario Ombudsman André Marin and startling new video evidence of police beatings obtained by the Star’s Rosie DiManno — is that the vast powers of the state were unjustifiably used against thousands of innocent protesters, as well as against others doing nothing more subversive than riding a bike or picking up groceries.

Unbeknownst to citizens who had gathered for a peaceful march through downtown Toronto — similar to marches frequently held without incident in the city — the provincial cabinet had resurrected police powers from the 70-year-old Public Works Protection Act, enacted when the country was at war with Nazi Germany.

Read on...

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Monday, December 13, 2010

"You're Going To Get Tasered"

by digby

I don't know the whole story here, but the fact that the victim was acquitted in a jury trial has to mean something:

A Hawthorn Woods man filed a lawsuit in federal courtvictim was acquitted in a jury trial Tuesday claiming Mundelein police used “excessive and unjustifiable violence” when they pulled him from a vehicle early New Year's Day and shocked him multiple times with a Taser.

Steven Kotlinski was riding in the passenger seat when his wife, Jean, the designated driver for the night, was pulled over at approximately 2:30 a.m., according to the lawsuit.

During the traffic stop, which was recorded on the squad car's video camera, Steven Kotlinski got out of the vehicle to check on his wife as police were performing sobriety tests on her, according to the lawsuit.

Read on...

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The 6 Most Shocking Cases of Police Stun-Gun Abuse

Some of the most egregious examples of taser abuse by police around the country, illustrating why the willy-nilly increase of taser use is terrible for citizens.

Take a police force that’s notorious for its use of excessive force, add a massive arsenal of tasers, put those weapons in the hands of low-level patrol officers, and what do you get?

If you guessed “an awful mess of civil rights abuses and safety concerns,” then, unfortunately, you’re correct. A new report from the City of Chicago Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates police misconduct cases in the city, has found that incidences of taser use by Chicago police officers increased by nearly 350% over the past year in the wake of the department’s decision to more than double its taser arsenal in the name of “increasing officer safety” and “defusing trouble.”

Here are the numbers: In March, the department decided to increase its supply of tasers from 280 to 660 and began putting them in every patrol officer’s squad car. (Previously, only sergeants and field training officers were allowed to carry tasers.) As a direct result, Chicago officers used tasers a whopping 683 times in the 12-month period ending September 30, compared to 197 times in 2009 and 163 in 2008.

Read on...

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DiManno: New tape backs up protester’s beating allegation

By Rosie DiManno

When he is finally allowed up off the ground after being stomped and pummeled by cops, Adam Nobody appears to have suffered no significant facial injuries — at least none that show.

There isn’t any blood, nary evidence of wounds, and the nose — which Nobody suspects was snapped during that pile-on melee — is exactly where it’s supposed to be.

The outward evidence is fairly clear on a piece of footage given to the Star this week.

Those images — a handcuffed Nobody being led out of camera range by uniformed officers, in the process of being arrested last June 26, not a drop of blood on him — support the 27-year-old’s formal complaint that he was immediately afterwards subjected to another vicious beating by a couple of plainclothes detectives behind two parked police vans.

After this second purported assault, Nobody’s face was left bloodied, he says, his cheekbone shattered.

Within a week, he would undergo surgery to repair the damage.

Read on...

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Story - Help ID This Criminal! by: Wyndham Bettencourt-McCarthy

On the evening of Saturday, June 26th, I was live blogging the protest at South Queen's Park on assignment for the site Torontoist. When police began randomly charging the peaceful crowd, I attempted to extricate myself as I witnessed other individuals being seized and beaten to the ground, despite being unarmed and not resisting force. As I was running out of the park, I was struck from behind by a male officer. He beat me with a baton, causing welts and bruising across my right hip and abdomen. I was unarmed at the time and had not said anything to any officers or engaged in any chanting, taunting, or aggressive behaviour. I did not know until later that a photographer was present at the event and had photographed the moment when I was hit. I have attached the image to this email, although unfortunately I do not know who took the photograph as it appeared in an anonymous facebook collection of accumulated photos from the weekend. I documented my experience on Torontoist, and photos of my bruises are available below:

You have my full permission to publish my story, photos, and full name. I am currently attempting to identify the officer that struck me so I can add the information to my formal complaint.

Thank you,

Wyndham Bettencourt-McCarthy

Check out lots of stories from G20 at the website. Tom

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DiManno: How long can Blair stay shackled?

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair addresses the media at a press  conference held at the Empress hotel in Victoria, BC.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair addresses the media at a press conference held at the Empress hotel in Victoria, BC.

Anybody got the keys to Police Chief Bill Blair’s handcuffs?

Because Toronto’s top cop — indisputably the most powerful municipal law enforcement official in Canada — has got a bad case of the shackles.

Five officers identified by late Wednesday afternoon as cop-on-civilian combatants during the G20 Summit protests and there’s apparently precious little Blair can do about it.

Can’t fire ’em. Can’t suspend ’em without pay, pending a disciplinary hearing. Can’t compel them — if designated by the Special Investigations Unit as subject officers, which hasn’t happened yet with this quintet — to come forth for interviewing by the independent agency.

So what’s a chief for?

Read on...

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Taser-inquiry judge rejects ‘excited delirium’ as cause of N.S. inmate’s death

An undated family photograph of Howard Hyde, who died after a  struggle with guards at a Halifax-area jail in November, 2007. - An  undated family photograph of Howard Hyde, who died after a struggle with  guards at a Halifax-area jail in November, 2007. | The Canadian Press


A Nova Scotia judge probing the death in custody of a paranoid schizophrenic man has waded into the debate over excited delirium, rejecting it as the cause, and questioning if the controversial condition even exists.

Howard Hyde died the day after he was arrested for allegedly assaulting his wife while off his medication. The Dartmouth man was tasered repeatedly and wrestled into submission by police in a fracas during booking. He struggled later with guards at a local jail before collapsing and dying.

The province’s chief medical examiner had concluded that Mr. Hyde’s death was due to excited delirium.

Provincial Court Judge Anne Derrick – who presided over an 11-month inquiry and tabled a massive report on Wednesday with 80 recommendations aimed at improving treatment of the mentally ill – concluded that Mr. Hyde’s death was the accidental result of being restrained.

Read on...

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Toronto police chief will not resign, says officers identified in G20 beating case


Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair says the police have identified five of the officers who are persons of interest in an alleged assault of a G20 protester.

Chief Blair held a news conference in Victoria Wednesday amid growing calls for an inquiry into police conduct into the G20, and said he has no plans to resign.

“No I am not [resigning],” he said. “I am doing my job.”

Chief Blair said his department has identified and is disciplining 91 officers for failing to display their name tags. As well, five officers accused of misconduct have been identified from photographs published in the media. He said he did not personally identify the officers.

Read on...

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Top judges giving up silence to embrace the people’s court


A blue-chip crowd of several hundred jazz aficionados cheered and applauded at a swank Sunday night concert recently as Ontario Chief Justice Warren Winkler stood on stage and belted out part of an Ira Gershwin standard, I Can't Get Started.

One of the country’s top judges? Singing to a gathering of tuxedo-clad jazz freaks?

The scene, at a concert in his honour, signified more than just Chief Justice Winkler’s refined musical tastes. It was symbolic of the judiciary’s earnest attempt to shore up a shaky sense of public confidence.

In little more than a decade, judges have emerged from their cloistered chambers and – with varying degrees of discomfort – walked among the hoi polloi. Many are regulars on the speakers circuit and in classrooms. Some have taken to the airwaves to field questions and give media interviews.

Read on...

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Supreme Court urged to overhaul sentencing philosophy


Wide disparities in sentences are precipitating a crisis of confidence in the justice system, Alberta’s top court has warned in a call aimed at the entire judiciary.

In a ruling designed to prod the Supreme Court of Canada into revamping sentencing philosophies, a five-judge Alberta Court of Appeal panel said that trial judges must be restrained from injecting their personal views and predilections into the sentencing process.

They warned that, unless the judiciary gets its own house in order and fashions a predictable regime of minimum sentences, politicians will step in and do it for them.

The majority – comprised of Chief Justice Catherine Fraser, Mr. Justice Jean Cote and Mr. Justice Jack Watson – went so far as to issue an invitation to Parliament to “consider its options” if the judiciary fails to create rational, proportionate and predictable sentences.

Read on...

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Ontario Ombudsman's Report

Investigation into
The Ministry of Community Safety and
Correctional Services’ conduct
in relation to Ontario Regulation 233/10
under the Public Works Protection Act

“Caught in the Act”
André Marin
Ombudsman of Ontario
December 2010

The Link takes you to the full report. Here is a link to the Ombudsman's website. Tom

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ontario never should have enacted G20 summit security law, Ombudsman’s report says

Anna Mehler Paperny

In their haste to bump up G20 security, Ontario authorities kept silent on a convoluted amendment to 71-year-old legislation that was “illegal” and “likely unconstitutional,” abrogating the Charter rights of thousands of people in the process, says Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin.

Toronto police Chief Bill Blair, who requested the regulation, misrepresented it after officers were trained according to an incorrect interpretation of the law, Mr. Marin said. The chief then refused to speak with or provide information to the Ombudsman investigating its execution.

Police spokesman Mark Pugash argues Mr. Marin was overstepping his jurisdiction by making the request. And Chief Blair, for his part, says he did everything in his power to ensure his officers applied the law correctly.

"I certainly made no effort to deceive anyone or to withhold information," he told CTV Tuesday.

Read on...

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G20 report unflattering to Toronto Police Chief

By Adam Radwanski

Amid all of André Marin’s hyperbole, someone else’s words are the most damning thing to be found in the Ontario Ombudsman’s G20 report.

The Toronto Police Service “has made many public mistakes over the last 72 hours,” one Ontario Provincial Police officer wrote to another during the controversial crackdown on protesters during last June's international summit. “The public has largely supported police security operations for G20. What is not supported is the actions by TPS and the inconsistencies of answers they continue to provide….”

The internal e-mail, which explained why the OPP and the RCMP declined to participate in a joint news conference with their municipal counterparts, is the latest indication that the Toronto force went off the rails last summer. And along with other revelations on Tuesday, it stands to put even more heat on embattled Police Chief Bill Blair.

Read on...

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Beaten protester urges chief to seek out responsible officers

Ontario's Special Investigations Unit is trying to identify the  man with the bicycle in this image from a video of police officers  subduing Adam Nobody on June 26, 2010 during the G20 protests in  Toronto.

Ontario's Special Investigations Unit is trying to identify the man with the bicycle in this image from a video of police officers subduing Adam Nobody on June 26, 2010 during the G20 protests in Toronto.

by Jayme Poisson

Last week, a quirky G20 protester with the last name Nobody accepted an apology from Toronto’s top cop.

“Now that he’s apologized is he going to look for the people who did this?” said Adam Nobody, referring to Police Chief Bill Blair.

“Police officers will be held accountable where there is evidence of misconduct,” Blair had said earlier that day.

On the front page of the Star Tuesday, an officer’s face peeks through a raised visor. The image came from newly obtained video footage that shows the same officer repeatedly beating Nobody with a baton.

Read on...

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DiManno: Make it right, Chief Blair

The officer captured beating Adam Nobody on video is shown at  centre taking down photographer Colin O’Connor June 26 at Queen’s Park

The officer captured beating Adam Nobody on video is shown at centre taking down photographer Colin O’Connor June 26 at Queen’s Park

by Rosie Dimanno

There are recognizable faces. There are identifiable names.

And that should make quick work of holding at least a few brutalizing police officers to account for their despicable conduct during the G20 Summit protests.

In the hands of so accomplished a career professional as Police Chief Bill Blair — former morality cop, former drug cop, former organized crime cop, former major criminal investigations cop and former head of detective operations — this evidence should cue up a slam-dunk piece of detecting.

Break the case wide open, as they say.

The Star has done much of the leg work for you, chief.

We are in possession of a videotape that shows cops whaling on Adam Nobody. We also have 13 still photographs of a separate incident, the tackling of National Post freelance photographer Colin O’Connor. One Toronto police officer, clearly identifiable, is a central character in both episodes.

Here is a Detecting for Dummies primer to help you get your man, chief:

Read on...

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ombudsman charges G20 secret law was 'illegal'

A journalist with visible credentials is arrested by riot police  as rain pours down at the conclusion of the G20 Summit June 27, 2010 in  Toronto.

A journalist with visible credentials is arrested by riot police as rain pours down at the conclusion of the G20 Summit June 27, 2010 in Toronto.

Robert Benzie and Rob Ferguson

It was “illegal” and “likely unconstitutional” for Premier Dalton McGuinty’s government to pass a secret regulation that police used to detain people near Toronto’s G20 summit of world leaders last summer, says Ombudsman Andre Marin.

In a scorching 125-page report entitled Caught in the Act, Marin said the measure “should never have been enacted” and “was almost certainly beyond the authority of the government to enact.”

“Responsible protesters and civil rights groups who took the trouble to educate themselves about their rights had no way of knowing they were walking into a trap – they were literally caught in the Act; the Public Works Protection Act and its pernicious regulatory offspring,” he told reporters.

Marin recommended that the little-known 1939 legislation should be revised or replaced and protocols developed so the public is made better aware when police powers are modified. He has given the government six months to make progress on this front.

Read on...

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Prison system failing to tackle reoffending, says Ken Clarke

Justice secretary to announce plans to bring down 60%-plus reoffending rates for short-term prisoners through a 'rehabilitation revolution'

Ken Clarke Ken Clarke hopes he can reduce the prison population by 3,000 by 2014.

The justice secretary, Ken Clarke, will today detail his plans to divert thousands of offenders from prison to bring to an end the Victorian-style "bang 'em up" culture and reduce high reoffending rates.

The green paper on sentencing is expected to mark a breach with the "prison works" philosophy introduced by Michael Howard in 1992.

Clarke aims to bring down 60%-plus reoffending rates for short-term prisoners through a "rehabilitation revolution" that could result in the current prison population of 85,500 being reduced by 3,000 by 2014.

Clarke said there were "big failings" in the system, evidenced by high reoffending rates.

While prison is there to punish people, "far more" should be done to ensure they don't reoffend once they are released, as well as stop "remorseless rise" in people being sent to prison in the first place.

Read on....

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SIU seeks witnesses who saw police beat protester

Ontario's Special Investigations Unit is trying to identify the  man with the bicycle in this image from a video of police officers  subduing Adam Nobody on June 26, 2010 during the G20 protests in  Toronto.

Ontario's Special Investigations Unit is trying to identify the man with the bicycle in this image from a video of police officers subduing Adam Nobody on June 26, 2010 during the G20 protests in Toronto.

The province’s Special Investigations Unit said Tuesday that it’s looking for two people armed with cameras who witnessed the police beating of G20 protester Adam Nobody.

Images of the two men were captured from a YouTube video shot by web developer John Bridge.

In one frame, the SIU has singled out a young man wearing a bicycle helmet. In the other, another man wearing a baseball cap. Both are walking with bicycles.

The Star has obtained another video that shows the face of a police officer who beats Nobody with what appears to be a baton.

Read on...

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Don't shoot messenger for revealing uncomfortable truths

Julian Assange

WIKILEAKS deserves protection, not threats and attacks.

IN 1958 a young Rupert Murdoch, then owner and editor of Adelaide's The News, wrote: "In the race between secrecy and truth, it seems inevitable that truth will always win."

His observation perhaps reflected his father Keith Murdoch's expose that Australian troops were being needlessly sacrificed by incompetent British commanders on the shores of Gallipoli. The British tried to shut him up but Keith Murdoch would not be silenced and his efforts led to the termination of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign.

Nearly a century later, WikiLeaks is also fearlessly publishing facts that need to be made public.

I grew up in a Queensland country town where people spoke their minds bluntly. They distrusted big government as something that could be corrupted if not watched carefully. The dark days of corruption in the Queensland government before the Fitzgerald inquiry are testimony to what happens when the politicians gag the media from reporting the truth.

Read on...

A just released op-ed piece from the Australian. Tom

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Toronto journalist witnessed ‘police brutality’ at Toronto G20

Broadcaster Steve Paikin appears before the House of Commons'  public safety committee on Monday to discuss what he saw as police  clashed with protesters at the G20 summit in Toronto.

Broadcaster Steve Paikin appears before the House of Commons' public safety committee on Monday to discuss what he saw as police clashed with protesters at the G20 summit in Toronto.

Richard J. Brennan Ottawa Bureau

OTTAWA—One of Toronto’s more respected journalists says he saw first hand the ugly face of police brutality at the June G20 summit in Toronto.

TVO’s Steve Paikin on Monday told a parliamentary committee how he watched a “chippy” journalist get punched and elbowed by police when the man objected to having his credential removed,

“If one defines police brutality as the thoroughly unnecessary, over-the-top implementation of violence to achieve something that otherwise could have been achieved without it then I saw that that night,” said Paikin, who is the anchor and senior editor of TVO’s The Agenda.

Earlier in the day the New Democrats said only a full public inquiry will get to the bottom of the overwhelming evidence of civil rights abuses at the G20 meeting in Toronto.

Read on...

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Julian Assange surrenders to British police on Swedish warrant

FILE - In this Oct. 23, 2010 file photo, WikiLeaks founder Julian  Assange, attends a news conference in London. Assange turned himself in  to British police Tuesday morning.

FILE - In this Oct. 23, 2010 file photo, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, attends a news conference in London. Assange turned himself in to British police Tuesday morning.

LONDON—WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange surrendered to London police Tuesday as part of a Swedish sex-crimes investigation, the latest blow to an organization that faces legal, financial and technological challenges after releasing hundreds of secret U.S. diplomatic cables.

Assange was due at Westminster Magistrate’s Court later Tuesday.

If he challenges his extradition to Sweden, he will likely be remanded into British custody or released on bail until another judge rules on whether to extradite him, a spokeswoman for the extradition department said on customary condition of anonymity.

Since beginning to release the diplomatic cables last week, WikiLeaks has seen its bank accounts cancelled and its websites attacked. The U.S. government has launched a criminal investigation, saying the group has jeopardized U.S. national security and diplomatic efforts around the world.

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OPP officer cleared in lethal Taser shooting

Curtis Rush Staff Reporter

An OPP officer has been cleared in the death of a 27-year-old schizophrenic man who was shot with a Taser in Collingwood last summer.

The Special Investigations Unit, an independent agency, determined that the stun gun is a lethal weapon that in this case caused the death of Aron Firman.

However, Ian Scott, head of the SIU, determined that the officer had a lawful right to fire it and the victim had underlying health conditions that could have contributed to his death.

Two OPP officers were dispatched to the Blue Mountain Residence in Collingwood on June 24 following an assault complaint.

Firman was found sitting in a chair outside one of the buildings, but when police moved in to arrest him, he became agitated. He then got up and “moved aggressively” towards one of the officers, according to the SIU.

One officer tried to intervene and Firman struck her in the face with an elbow, Scott wrote on his report.

Read on...

This headline to the same story certainly conveys a different impression. Tom

Ontario police watchdog blames Taser in man’s death

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A second look at G20 police assault

Rosie Dimanno

I see you, Mr. Policeman.

I see your mustachioed face, the visor so helpfully lifted up.

I see your arm — in short-sleeve uniform shirt — pumping back and forth, brutally beating.

I see the baton in that hand.

And do you, Police Chief Bill Blair, recognize this cop? Was he one of yours, pounding on Adam Nobody that awful day, June 26, 2010, when peaceful G20 protesters were assaulted by some law enforcement thugs at Queen’s Park?

If so, what do you intend to do about it now, sir?

The Toronto Star has come into possession of a new piece of videotape shot by a bystander that afternoon. It is 12 minutes and 20 seconds long — 23 seconds of which capture a vicious cop pile-on, officers pounding on Nobody, a stage designer who changed his name two years ago from Adam Trombetta for the pun value.

Read on....

Follow the link. There is new video of the assault on Adam Nobody. Tom

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Monday, December 6, 2010

The Crime of Punishment

In 2005, when a federal court took a snapshot of California’s prisons, one inmate was dying each week because the state failed to provide adequate health care. Adequate does not mean state-of-the-art, or even tolerable. It means care meeting “the minimal civilized measure of life’s necessities,” in the Supreme Court’s words, so inmates do not die from rampant staph infections or commit suicide at nearly twice the national average.

These and other horrors have been documented in California’s prisons for two decades, and last week they were before the Supreme Court in Schwarzenegger v. Plata. It is the most important case in years about prison conditions. The justices should uphold the lower court’s remedy for addressing the horrors.

Four years ago, when the number of inmates in California reached more than 160,000, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a “state of emergency.” The state’s prisons, he said, are places “of extreme peril.”

Read on...

This is a New York Times editorial. Tom

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Do Not Read This Post if you Ever Want a Gov't Job

Students Warned Not To Link To Or Even Read WikiLeaks If They Want A Federal Job. Is This Still America?

Sure looks like a large and concerted intimidation campaign against WikiLeaks supporters. In addition to this, law students at Boston University were warned not to link to WikiLeaks, or even read it online, because it might keep them from getting a security clearance for a federal job.

Oh, and soldiers trying to read from Iraq get a popup warning them they're about to break the law. Can you say "whack-a-mole", Mr. Constitutional Law Professor?

From Democracy Now! with Glenn Greenwald:

AMY GOODMAN: I'm going to interrupt, because I want to get to some memos that we've been getting from around the country that are very important and interesting. University students are being warned about WikiLeaks. An email from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, that we read in headlines, reads-I want to do it again-quote,

Read on...

Stop Wikileaks? You Might as well Try to Stop Rock and Roll.

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DiManno: G20 Youtube video a sorry affair indeed

Sorry chief — truly I am — but sorry just isn’t good enough.

A man of integrity, which Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair is, would at least offer to resign.

And a police services board that has the authority to hire and fire this city’s top cop — no one else can do that — should think seriously about terminating Blair’s renewed contract.

Some professionals, because of the power they wield and all the moral heft they carry in our society, don’t have the luxury of being so profoundly wrong or misguided.

It is not simply about taking the blame for the misdeeds of others — officers who answer ultimately to their chief through the chain of command — because the buck stops in that brass-and-braid invested office.

Read on...

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Police complaint filed after Tom Flanagan calls for assassination of Wikileaks' Julian Assange

By Charlie Smith,

Vancouver lawyer Gail Davidson filed a written complaint today (December 4) with Vancouver police and the RCMP against Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former campaign manager, Tom Flanagan.

Davidson alleged that on a November 30 CBC television broadcast, Flanagan "counselled and/or incited the assassination of Julian Assange contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada".

Assange is the founder of Wikileaks, which is releasing 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables.

On the Power and Politics program hosted by Evan Solomon, Flanagan said: “Well, I think [Julian] Assange should be assassinated, actually. I think Obama should put out a contract and maybe use a drone or something.”

Read on...

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Arrest Warrant for "Sex Crimes" Against Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Is for "Sex Without a Condom", NOT Non-Consensual Rape Using Force

Interpol has issued an arrest warrant for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for "sex crimes".

Everyone assumed it was for rape.

But it turns out it was for violating an obscure Swedish law against having sex without a condom.

As Newsweek wrote in August:

A Swedish lawyer representing two women whose allegations triggered a sexual-misconduct investigation of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has given [Newsweek column] Declassified the first on-the-record confirmation of the allegations that led to the issuance—and then rapid cancellation—of a warrant on a rape charge and to a parallel investigation into alleged “molestation." Claes Borgstrom of the Stockholm law firm Borgstrom and Bostrom, who is representing two women who said they had sexual relationships with Assange, said his clients complained to the police of Assange's reluctance to use condoms and unwillingness to be tested for sexually transmitted disease.


Borgstrom said that specific details about the the allegations had not yet appeared in Swedish media. But he acknowledged that the principal concern the women had about Assange’s behavior—which they reported to police in person—related to his lack of interest in using condoms and his refusal to undergo testing, at the women’s request, for sexually transmitted disease. A detailed, chronological account of the women’s alleged encounters with Assange—which in both cases began with consensual sexual contact but later included what the women claimed was nonconsensual sex, in which Assange didn’t use a condom—was published on Tuesday by The Guardian; a Declassified item included a more explicit reference than The Guardian to Assange’s declining to submit to medical tests.

Read on...

Meanwhile, Assange's arrest is imminent but Wikileaks will continue. Assange is not acting alone and the documents he says will be released will be released. Despite Holy Joe Lieberman running around trying to shut down the Internet. Tom

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New Tory MP Julian Fantino under fire for saying charter has helped criminals

OTTAWA - The Liberals are blasting a newly elected Conservative MP and potential Harper cabinet minister for saying the Charter of Rights and Freedoms has been a friend of criminals.

Liberal MP Justin Trudeau is criticizing Julian Fantino over comments the former Ontario Provincial Police commissioner made in his first interview since formally becoming a politician by winning a federal byelection Monday.

Fantino won southern Ontario's Vaughan riding, ending a 22-year Liberal hold on the seat. He brings tough-on-crime credentials to politics after a 40-year policing career, views he shared in a televised interview on CBC Wednesday night.

"In some cases, the Charter has been exploited and the rulings that have followed have, in fact, benefited some criminals, absolutely," Fantino said.

"The Supreme Court of Canada and other court rulings are trying to change some of the misinterpretations that have been given as to the reason, the purpose, and the mechanisms of the Charter."

Read on...

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Collateral Costs: Incarceration's Effect on Economic Mobility

This is a report from the Pew Charitable Trusts.
The report can be viewed here.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ottawa cops reviewing detention policies after release of disturbing videos

OTTAWA — A beleaguered Ottawa police force is reviewing its detention policies and defending the rank-and-file after videos were released showing officers striking two prisoners and cutting a woman’s clothes off.

Chief Vern White says the videos have shaken the public’s confidence in the force.

“I’m always concerned about public confidence,” White told a news conference on Thursday.

“The public, overall, I think have tremendous confidence in what we do. And I understand they’re shaken by what they’ve seen.”

White was the chief of police for the Durham Regional Police Service before taking up the position in Ottawa.

Read on...

Maybe Canada needs something like National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project. Tom

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Stay extended, prostitution laws remain in effect

Terri-Jean Bedford claps with her riding crop at an informal press  conference in September 2010.

Terri-Jean Bedford claps with her riding crop at an informal press conference in September 2010.

Laws criminalizing prostitution in Ontario will remain in place until at least until April 29, 2011.

Justice Marc Rosenberg released his ruling this morning, saying he will extend the stay on a landmark decision that would have allowed sex workers to hire bodyguards and communicate freely to sell services.

Rosenberg suggested that the appeal should be heard before the April 29 deadline.

Lawyer Alan Young, who represents dominatrix Terri Jean Bedford, said the judge was concerned with the regulatory void, meaning the lack of laws to regulate the industry.

Last week, lawyers from Ottawa and Queen’s Park argued that the Ontario Court of Appeal should extend the stay on a landmark decision that would have effectively decriminalized prostitution in the province.

Read on...

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

University Of Calgary Professor And Senior Advisor To Canadian PM Calls For Julian Assange Assassination On National TV

It is not a good week for Wikileaks. Following yesterday's Interpol arrest warrant, also yesterday, Tom Flanagan, a senior advisor and strategist to the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, called for the assassination of Wikileaks director Julian Assange. On CBS News. On Live TV. As the video notes, "it is believed to be the first ever televised "fatwa" since the edict by the Iranian leadership of the late Ayatollah Khomeini against British writer Salman Rushdie in February 1989." It's a good thing western society, where due process used to mean something, is so much more evolved than that of Iran. Additionally, although news anchor Solomon afforded Flanagan the opportunity to retract his statement, Flanagan balked at doing so and instead reiterated that U.S. President should put out a "contract" on Assange or use "a drone" and that he would not be unhappy if Assange "disappeared." Flanagan who is a trusted member of PM Harper's inner circle of Tory strategists joins Sarah Palin in calling for the death of the Wikileaks director as retribution for the website's release of confidential diplomatic and intelligence "chatter" this week. How long before any senior political advisor has the freedom to issue fatwas on national TV on anyone who dares to utter or publish something that they consider offensive?

Read on...

What do you think about this? Tom

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Wikileaks and the Reactionary Impulse to Repress

By Matthew Rothschild, November 30, 2010

The single biggest Wikileaks revelation is not that the Saudis are still funding Al Qaeda, or that Hillary Clinton ordered the State Department to spy on foreign diplomats and the U.N., or that many Arab countries favor an attack on Iran.

No, the real eye-opener is the reactionary impulse of people in power to repress those who disseminate information.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the disclosure “not just an attack on America’s foreign policy interests. It is an attack on the international community.”

Read on...

Wikileaks is doing the job the mainstream media abdicated long ago. Tom

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Nobody Assaulted. Nobody Arrested.

Ontario police watchdog reopens G20 'Nobody' arrest investigation

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