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Dashcam Videos Show Cop Take Down Suspect By Running Him Over With his Car

By Matt Agorist | The Free Thought Project | April 15, 2015

Marana, AZ — Chilling footage from the dashcams of two police cruisers was released this week that shows an Arizona police officer use his car as a means to take down a suspect.

The first video is from the officer who was simply following the suspect down the street as he walked away. All of the sudden a cruiser passes him at high speeds and runs down the suspect.

The man who was run over by the officer miraculously survived. Mario Valencia, 36, now faces several felony charges, including assault on a police officer.

According to the Associated Press, Marana police Sgt. Chris Warren said Valencia robbed a convenience store in Tucson, broke into a church, invaded a home and stole a car. Valencia drove the stolen car to Marana, just north of Tucson, where he stole a rifle from a Wal-Mart.

In some Orwellian attempt to justify the cop’s actions, Marana police chief Terry Rozema claims the violent takedown by officer Michael Rapiejko likely saved Valencia’s life.

The suspect’s lawyer, however, disagrees, according to RT.

“Everything in the video seems to point towards an obvious excessive use of force. It is miraculous that my client isn’t dead,” attorney Michelle Cohen-Metzger told CNN.

Whether or not this man was actually guilty of a crime was not yet proven in a court of law. Deciding his guilt and punishment was not up to officer Rapiejko. In a civilized society, we have standards that allow for individuals to face their accuser. It’s called due process, and it is specifically in place to prevent this exact scenario of judge, jury, and executioner.

When police feel that they can simply take lives without obeying the rule of law, something has gone terribly awry.

April 15, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , | Leave a comment

The Fukushima Health Crisis

By JOSEPH MANGANO and JANETTE SHERMAN | CounterPunch | August 1, 2014

Over 3 years since the Fukushima nuclear disaster, there is virtually no health research being conducted or released on harm to the Japanese. An April report by a UN committee tried to sweep the issue under the rug, predicting any harmful effects of the catastrophe is “unlikely.”

The UN panel made a very broad assumption about the worst nuclear catastrophe in history (or worst since Chernobyl) – and did this BEFORE research is done. However, a local health study raises alarm bells. Fukushima Medical University found 46% of local children have a pre-cancerous nodule or cyst, and 130 have thyroid cancer, vs. 3 expected. Incredibly, the University corrupts science by asserting the meltdown played no role in these high figures.

But Japanese studies must go far beyond childhood thyroid diseases. Japan isn’t the only site to study, as the fallout from the meltdown spread across the northern hemisphere.

In 2011, we estimated 13,983 excess U.S. deaths occurred in the 14 weeks after Fukushima, when fallout levels were highest – roughly the same after Chernobyl in 1986. We used only a sample of deaths available at that time, and cautioned not to conclude that fallout caused all of these deaths.

Final figures became available this week. The 2010-2011 change in deaths in the four months after Fukushima was +2.63%, vs. +1.54% for the rest of the year. This difference translates to 9,158 excess deaths – not an exact match for the 13,983 estimate, but a substantial spike nonetheless.

Again, without concluding that only Fukushima caused these deaths, some interesting patterns emerged. The five Pacific and West Coast states, with the greatest levels of Fukushima fallout in the U.S., had an especially large excess. So did the five neighboring states (Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Utah), which received the next highest levels.

Most of the spring 2011 mortality increase were people over 80. Many of these elderly were in frail health; one possibility is that the added exposure to radioactive poison sped the dying process.

Fukushima radiation is the same as fallout from atom bomb explosions, releasing over 100 chemicals not found in nature. The radioactive chemicals enter the body as a result of precipitation that gets into the food chain. Once in the body, these particles harm or kill cells, leading to disease or death.

Once-skeptical health officials now admit even low doses of radiation are harmful. Studies showed X-rays to pregnant women’s abdomens raised the risk of the child dying of cancer, ending the practice. Bomb fallout from Nevada caused up to 212,000 Americans to develop thyroid cancer. Nuclear weapons workers are at high risk for a large number of cancers.

Rather than the UN Committee making assumptions based on no research, medical research on changes in Japanese disease and death rates are needed – now, in all parts of Japan. Similar studies should be done in nations like Korea, China, eastern Russia, and the U.S. Not knowing Fukushima’s health toll only raises the chance that such a disaster will be repeated in the future.

Joseph Mangano is Executive Director of the Radiation and Public Health Project.

Janette D. Sherman MD is an internist and toxicologist, and editor of Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment.

August 3, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Border Patrol Terrorizes a Mom and Her Two Kids

See also:

Woman’s Lawsuit Alleges Horrifying Abuse By Border Officers, Including Cavity Searches And Forced Bowel Movements

 

200813border

April 2, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Video | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Border Patrol Terrorizes a Mom and Her Two Kids

US hires Israeli company to retrofit Mexico border wall

By Chloé Benoist | Al-Akhbar | March 5, 2014

An Israeli military contractor, whose surveillance technology is used along Israel’s apartheid wall constructed in the Palestinian West Bank, has been chosen by the United States to provide similar services on the southern border with Mexico, Israeli media reported on Wednesday.

Elbit Systems announced on Sunday that the US Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had awarded its subsidiary a $145 million contract to deploy border surveillance technology in southern Arizona, Reuters reported.

But according to Bloomberg analyst Brian Friel, quoted by Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the one-year contract could expand to a broader $1 billion deal if the US Congress passes stringent immigration legislation.

Elbit Systems is set to install watch towers along the border with sensors for spotting, tracking, and classifying data, along with command and control centers.

Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona hailed the deal as a “step in the right direction.”

“Arizonans have been waiting more than a decade for the Department of Homeland Security to place the needed technology along our border to support the Border Patrol and fully secure our southern border,” he said in a statement.

“If this technology is developed, integrated and fielded correctly, these Integrated Fixed Towers in southern Arizona, coupled with the tremendous work of the Border Patrol, will give our agents the ability to detect, evaluate, and respond to all illegal entries crossing our border.”

A government contractor said the choice of an Israeli firm was justified by of its “advanced” experience in maintaining separation barriers.

“It is odd to go offshore for this work, but in extraordinary circumstances, one really wants to employ the best,” Haaretz quoted Mark Amtower, a partner at Amtower & Co, as saying.

Elbit Systems is one of the primary military suppliers of the Israel’s occupation forces. Its Hermes 450 attack drone has been used extensively in the besieged Gaza Strip, as well as in Lebanon during the 2006 war.

The company is also responsible for surveillance technology along the apartheid wall erected by Israel within the West Bank. Only 15 percent of the separation barrier is built along the so-called 1949 Green Line, which is recognized by the international community as the border of Israel proper, UN figures show, with most of it jutting into the occupied West Bank.

The 440-kilometer long barrier is considered illegal under international law.

Among its many international contracts, Elbit contributed in 2013 to a $40 million expansive Internet surveillance program for the Nigerian government.

Elbit Systems has officially pledged on its website to “contribute to the enhancement of quality of life and the environment of the communities in which we live and work.”

But this contribution mainly consists of supporting Israeli occupation forces through the “Adopt a Combat Unit” program.

Elbit is targeted by the pro-Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for “directly contribut[ing] to violations of international humanitarian law.”

The Stop the Wall campaign has called Elbit a “symbol” which“thrives on and fuels war, repression and control in Palestine and around the globe.”

“Elbit offers its experience in ghettoizing and killing Palestinians to repress other people,” the campaign wrote of the company’s international projects.

“Because Elbit Systems is knowingly participating in and aiding Israeli war crimes and Israeli occupation of the Palestinian people, investors in and partners of the security firm are, by extension, accessories to Israel’s many violations of international law and human rights standards.”

March 5, 2014 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , | Comments Off on US hires Israeli company to retrofit Mexico border wall

Legal Residents Claim They are Punished for Living Near Mexican Border

By Noel Brinkerhoff | AllGov | January 23, 2014

A leading civil rights group has accused Border Patrol agents of abusing the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens and legal residents living in southern Arizona.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is demanding a government investigation of those guarding the border with Mexico.

“Border Patrol checkpoints today bear little resemblance to those authorized by the Supreme Court. Many Border Patrol officials do not understand—or simply ignore—the legal limits of their authority at checkpoints,” James Lyall, an attorney with the ACLU of Arizona, said in an administrative complaint (pdf) sent to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Inspector General and Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

The ACLU also forwarded its complaint to Arizona’s congressional representatives, the U.S. Department of Justice and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

At least 15 American citizens have been subjected to unlawful acts by Border Patrol agents at checkpoints in Arizona, the ACLU claims.

“Residents often experience extended interrogation and detention not related to establishing citizenship, unwarranted searches, racial profiling, verbal harassment, and physical assault, among other abuses,” the letter said.

In one instance, a Border Patrol agent drew his gun at a driver, pulled him from his car and handcuffed him for 45 minutes after the individual declined to answer questions unrelated to citizenship.

Another incident saw Border Patrol agents order a driver and passenger from their vehicle, and place them in wire cages while their car was searched—and all because a service dog detected something in another car.

A third case involved a mother of twin six-year-old children being threatened and assaulted by agents for lawfully attempting to record a search of her vehicle following a false canine alert.

All of the aforementioned individuals, as well as others mentioned in the ACLU complaint, were released and never charged with violating immigration or other laws. The ACLU wants the incidents it documented to be investigated.

The group previously filed two other complaints (in April 2012 and October 2013) alleging abuses by Border Patrol agents. To date, it has not received a response from the government about them.

“The ACLU believes the lack of response to widespread civil rights abuses by the nation’s largest federal law enforcement agency is symptomatic of broader oversight failures within CBP and DHS,” it said in a press release.

To Learn More:

Border Patrol Checkpoints in Southern Arizona Violate the Constitutional Rights of Border Residents, ACLU of Arizona Demands Investigation (American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona)

Complaint and Request for Investigation of Abuses at U.S. Border Patrol Interior Checkpoints in Southern Arizona, including Unlawful Search and Seizure, Excessive Force, and Racial Profiling (American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and American Civil Liberties Union Border Litigation Project) (pdf)

Federal Judge Rules that Border Patrol Does Not Need Reasonable Suspicion to Confiscate Laptops and Phones (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

10 Lawsuits Filed against Border Patrol for Abuse (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)

January 23, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Legal Residents Claim They are Punished for Living Near Mexican Border

Moral monstrosity: America’s for-profit Gulag system

By Nile Bowie | RT | April 23, 2013

The private prison population in the US has rocketed 17-fold over the last two decades mostly on the shoulders of the deep-pocketed prison lobby, and the business continues to thrive.

Try confining yourself to a small room in your home, like a bathroom or a closet, and spend a few hours there. One only cringes to imagine the detrimental psychological effects that kind of solitude creates for individuals who are subjected to solitary confinement for years at a time, knowing only the walls of their cell and the shades of light that creep across them. The abhorrent state of affairs at the Guantanamo facility often makes international headlines and arguably overshadows the calamity that is the US domestic prison system – where over six million people are subject to some form of correctional supervision, an amount exceeding those who toiled in the Soviet gulags during Stalin’s reign. In the United States, some fifty thousand inmates pass their days in solitary confinement. While there is undoubtedly no shortage of violent criminals in America’s jails, millions are dolled out annually by privately owned prison lobbies directly to politicians in an effort to influence harsher ‘zero tolerance’ legislation and mandatory sentencing for many non-violent offenses.

While the US faces economic stagnation and unprecedented spending cuts to programs of social uplift, business is booming for the private prison industry. Like any other business, these institutions are run for the purpose of turning a profit. State and federal prisons are contracted out to private companies who are paid a fixed amount to house each inmate per day. Their profit depends on spending the minimum amount necessary on each inmate day-to-day, allowing private-hands to pocket the remaining money. For the corrections conglomerates of America, success depends on housing the maximum numbers of inmates for the longest potential time as inexpensively as possible. Consider that the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, far surpassing any other nation – for every 100,000 Americans, 743 citizens sit behind bars. The harsher sentences meted out to non-violent offenders in contrast to other industrialized nations speaks volumes of America’s enthusiastic embrace of a prison industrial complex.

The number of people imprisoned under state and federal custody increased 772% percent between 1970 and 2009, largely due to the incredible influence that private corrections corporations wield against the American legal system. The argument is that by subjecting correctional services to market pressures, efficiencies will be increased and prison facilities can be run at a lower cost due to market competition. What these privatizations produce in turn is a system that destroys families by incentivizing the mass long-term detention of non-violent criminals, a system that is increasingly difficult to deconstruct and reform due to millions paid out to state and federal policymakers. According to reports issued by advocacy group Public Campaign, the three major corrections firms –Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the GEO Group, and Cornell, have spent over $22 million lobbying Congress since 2001.

As a means of influencing policy-making at the federal level, at least $3.3 million have been given to political parties, candidates, and their political action committees, while more than $7.3 million has been given to state candidates and political parties since 2001, including $1.9 million in 2010, the highest amount in the past decade. Senators like Lindsay Graham and John McCain have received significant sums from the private prison corporations while Chuck Schumer, Chair of the Rules Committee on Immigration and Border Enforcement, received at least $64,000 from lobbyists. The prison lobby thrives off of laws that criminalize migrants and submit them to mandatory detention prior to being deported, sometimes up to 10 months or more; private firms have consistently pushed for the classification of immigration violations as felonies to justify throwing more and more immigrants behind bars. The number of illegal immigrants being incarcerated inside the United States has risen exponentially under Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency responsible for annually overseeing the imprisonment of 400,000 foreign nationals at the cost of over $1.9 billion on custody-related operations.

The private prison industry has become increasingly dependent on immigration-detention contracts, and the huge contributions of the prison lobby towards drafting Arizona’s controversial immigration law SB 1070 are all but unexpected. Arizona’s SB 1070 requires police to determine the immigration status of someone arrested or detained when there is “reasonable suspicion” that they’ve illegally entered the US, which many view as an invitation for rampant racial profiling against non-whites. While the administration of Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer is lined with former private prison lobbyists, its Department of Corrections budget has been raised by $10 million in 2012, while all other Arizona state agencies were subject to budget cuts during that fiscal year. The concept of privatizing prisons to reduce expenses comes at great cost to the inmates detained, who are subjected to living in increasingly squalid conditions in jail cells across America. In 2007, the Texas Youth Commission (TYC), a state agency that overseas juvenile corrections facilities, was sent to a West Texas juvenile prison run by GEO Group for the purpose of monitoring its quality standards.

The monitors sent by the TYC were subsequently fired for failing to report the sordid conditions they witnessed in the facility while they awarded the GEO Group with an overall compliance score of nearly 100% – it was later discovered that the TYC monitors were employed by the GEO Group. Independent auditors later visited the facility and discovered that inmates were forced to urinate or defecate in small containers due to a lack of toilets in some of the cells. The independent commission also noted in their list of reported findings that the facility racially segregated prisoners and denied inmates access to lawyers and medical treatment. The ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center have also highlighted several cases where GEO Group facility administrators turned a blind eye to brutal cases of rape and torture within their facilities, in addition to cases of its staff engaging in violence against inmates. According to the Justice Department data, nearly 210,000 prisoners are abused annually (prison personnel are found responsible half the time), while 4.5 percent of all inmates reported sexual assaults and rape.

It’s not possible to conceive how such institutionalized repression can be rolled back when the Obama administration shows only complicity with the status quo – a staggering $18 billion was spent by his administration on immigration enforcement, including detention, more than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined. Under Obama’s watch, today’s private prison population is over 17 times larger than the figure two decades earlier. Accordingly, Obama’s drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, has condemned the recently passed state laws in Colorado and Washington that legalize the possession of marijuana in small amounts. The Obama administration is bent on keeping in place the current federal legislation, where a first-time offender caught with marijuana can be thrown in prison for a year. It’s easy to see why common-sense decriminalization is stifled – an annual report released by the CCA in 2010 reiterates the importance of keeping in place harsh sentencing standards, “The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws. For instance, any changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.”

Such is the nature of a perverted brand of capitalism, and today’s model bares little difference to the first private prisons introduced following the abolition of slavery in the late 1800s, where expansive prison farms replaced slave plantations where predominately African-American inmates were made to pick cotton and construct railroads in states such as Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. Today, African-Americans make up 40% of the prison population and are incarcerated seven times more often than whites, despite the fact that African-Americans make up only 12% of the population. Inmates are barred from voting in elections after their release and are denied educational and job opportunities. The disproportionate levels of black people in prisons is undeniably linked to law enforcement’s targeting of intercity black communities through anti-drug stipulations that command maximum sentencing for possession of minute amounts of rock cocaine, a substance that floods poor black neighborhoods.

Perhaps these social ills are byproducts of a system that places predatory profits before human dignity. Compounding the illogic is that state spending on prisons has risen at six times the rate of spending on higher education over the past two decades. Mumia Abu-Jamal, America’s most famous political prisoner, has spent over three decades on death row; he was convicted in 1981 for the murder of a white police officer, while forensic experts say critical evidence vindicating Jamal was withheld from the trial. In an interview with RT, Jamal relates his youth activism with the Black Panthers party against political imprisonment in contrast to the present day situation, “We could not perceive back then of what it would become… you can literally talk about millions of people incarcerated by the prisoner-industrial complex today: men, women and children. And that level of mass incarceration, really mass repression, has to have an immense impact in effect on the other communities, not just among families, but in a social and communal consciousness way, and in inculcation of fear among generations.” The fear and immortality the system perpetuates shows no sign of abating. Being one of the few growth industries the United States has left, one can only imagine how many people will be living in cages in the decades to come.

April 23, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Moral monstrosity: America’s for-profit Gulag system

One Thing Maine, Virginia and Arizona Have in Common: Opposition to the NDAA

By Allie Bohm | ACLU | April 27, 2012

This week, the House Armed Services Committee has turned its attention back to the National Defense Authorization Act and began working on this year’s bill. You remember last year’s perversion that, for the first time in American history, codified indefinite military detention without charge or trial far from any battlefield? State legislators and activists and concerned citizens on the right and the left — and everyone in between — haven’t forgotten.

On Wednesday, Arizona’s state legislature sent a bill opposing the detention provisions in the NDAA to their governor. And, last week, a similar bill became law in Virginia, about a month after Maine passed a joint resolution to the same effect. Add to that list the cities and counties that have passed resolutions urging Congress to repeal the problematic provisions in the NDAA — Fairfax, Calif.; Santa Cruz, Calif.; El Paso County, Colo.; Fremont County, Colo.; Moffat County, Colo.; Weld County, Colo.; Cherokee County, Kan.; Northampton, Mass.; Alleghany County, N.C.; Macomb, N.Y.; Elk County, Pa.; and New Shoreham, R.I. — and the map starts looking awfully full. This is not a red state issue or a blue state issue or a purple state issue. A few of the resolutions are under-inclusive, but their message is still clear: across social and political lines, no one likes the idea of indefinite detention or mandatory military detention far from any battlefield. (Okay, except maybe Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and a few other misguided members of Congress.)

Will your town, city, county, or state be the next to speak up? You can make that happen. Check out our model legislation and activist toolkit for legislative language, talking points, and tips to help you get started. Our bill sends a message from your local legislative body to Congress that the indefinite military detention provisions of the NDAA should be repealed. The model legislation prohibits state and local employees from aiding the federal armed forces in the investigation, arrest, detention, or trial of any person within the United States under the NDAA. It also sends a message from your legislative body to Congress that the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force should expire at the end of the war in Afghanistan so that the government cannot continue to use the AUMF as justification for its claims that war is everywhere and anywhere and that the president can order the American military to imprison without charge or trial people picked up far from any battlefield.

And while you’re at it, head over to our Action Center and urge your member of Congress to fix the NDAA. The time is now. This year’s NDAA provides the perfect opportunity for Congress to fix last year’s debacle. And, we need you — and your state legislators and city council members — to speak up if we’re going to get Congress to finally do the right thing.

April 27, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , | 1 Comment