Tag Archives: ACLU

Rights Advocates Alarmed by US Spy Agency’s Purchase of Warrantless Phone Location Data

“Congress must end this lawless practice and require the government to get a warrant for our location data, regardless of its source.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-22-2021

Image: Free Press

Digital rights advocates reacted with alarm to a report published Friday detailing how Defense Intelligence Agency analysts in recent years bought databases of U.S. smartphone location data without first obtaining warrants.

The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is part of the Department of Defense and is tasked with informing military and civilian policymakers about the activities and intentions of foreign governments and nonstate actors. Continue reading

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Utah Lawmakers Accused of Seeking to Legalize Drivers Running Over Street Protesters

“Legislators are considering a bill that would let drivers off the hook for mowing down protesters.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-19-2020

Critics of the Utah bill fear that it might lead to an increase in deadly car attacks on protesters, as happened in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017. Photo: Billy Baldwin/Twitter

Utah lawmakers are being condemned this week for advancing a bill with provisions penalizing demonstrators who obstruct traffic during a “riot” while absolving any driver who injures or kills a protester, as long as the motorist was fleeing in fear of their life, which critics denounced as an attempt to legalize running people over.

John Hawkins, the Republican lawmaker who introduced the bill that the state legislature will consider during its upcoming general session, claimed that he doesn’t “think that purposefully using your vehicle to cause bodily injury is a normal situation that falls into this bill.” Continue reading

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Police fire on femicide protest in Cancún, Mexico

The femicide of a 20-year-old girl on the Mexican Caribbean coast adds to a pandemic of bloody murders that do not remit despite popular outrage.

By Danica Jorden.  Published 11-16-2020 by

Portrait of Bianca Alejandrina Lorenzana, Alexis | #justiciaparaalexis

“Im afraid to leave the house and never see my mom again.”

— Alexis

The details were sickening and at the same time so familiar. Another young woman missing, raped, murdered and mutilated. This time she was 20 years old and her name was Bianca Alejandrina Lorenzana, known as Alexis, and, until November 7, 2020, she lived in the balmy resort town of Cancún, Mexico. She had dared to leave the house alone one evening to make a little money selling a vape and now she was never coming back. Her body, like those of so many of her sisters, had been cut up and placed in garbage bags. Continue reading

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From Police Violence at Home to Killing Civilians in Unending Wars Abroad, US Faces Human Rights Reckoning at UN

An ACLU leader urged the incoming administration to “take bold actions on day one to reverse President Trump’s harmful policies.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-9-2020

The United States on Monday faced criticism over its human rights record from allies and adversaries alike at the United Nations as the country submitted to its first Universal Periodic Review of the Trump administration.

All 193 U.N. member states must undergo UPRs, which are held at the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC)—from which the U.S. withdrew in 2018 over alleged anti-Israel bias—in Geneva, Switzerland every five years. Continue reading

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‘Sledgehammer to Permanently Silence Opposing Voices’: Outrage Over Florida Gov. DeSantis’ Proposed Anti-Protest Bill

“This effort has one goal: silence, criminalize, and penalize Floridians who want to see justice for Black lives,” said ACLU of Florida executive director Micah Kubic.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-21-2020

George Floyd Miami Protest, June 7, 2020. Photo: Mike Shaheen/CC

The American Civil Liberties Union joined Florida Democrats on Monday in condemning a proposed bill by Gov. Ron DeSantis that would newly classify certain forms of protest as felonies and impose harsh penalties on some protesters.

Flanked by Republican lawmakers and law enforcement officials at an afternoon press conference in Winter Haven, DeSantis referred to Black Lives Matter protests in Portland, Oregon as he announced the proposed legislation. Continue reading

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‘Full Frontal Attack on Rule of Law’: Trump Sanctions Top ICC Officials Probing US War Crimes in Afghanistan

Human rights advocates blasted the move as “another brazen attack against international justice” that “is designed to do what this administration does best—bully and intimidate.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-2-2020

The Trump administration on Wednesday announced sanctions targeting International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and Phakiso Mochochoko, the court’s prosecution jurisdiction division director. (Photo: ICC)

Human rights advocates the world over condemned the Trump administration on Wednesday for imposing sanctions on two top officials at the International Criminal Court—just the latest act of retaliation for the Hague-based ICC’s ongoing investigation into war crimes allegedly committed by U.S. forces and others in Afghanistan during the so-called War on Terror.

“The Trump administration’s perverse use of sanctions, devised for alleged terrorists and drug kingpins, against prosecutors seeking justice for grave international crimes, magnifies the failure of the U.S. to prosecute torture,” said Richard Dicker, international justice director at Human Rights Watch. “The administration’s conjuring up a ‘national emergency’ to punish war crimes prosecutors shows utter disregard for the victims.” Continue reading

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‘Wild and Timely’ Report Details Infiltration of Far-Right Militias and White Supremacist Groups in US Police Departments

The study comes amid unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, following the latest high-profile police shooting of a Black man and the shooting deaths of two protesters by an alleged far-right militia member.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-27-2020

Kyle Rittenhouse walks past police in Kenosha after allegedly shooting three people, killing two of them. Photo: Rod Breslau/Twitter

As law enforcement agencies and lawmakers respond to nationwide outrage over countless police shootings of Black Americans with pledges to address racial profiling and “implicit bias,” the Brennan Center for Justice released a report Thursday on what it called “an especially harmful form of bias, which remains entrenched within law enforcement: explicit racism.”

The presence of virulent racism within police ranks across the country has grown over the past two decades, Brennan Center fellow and former FBI special agent Michael German wrote in the report, as white supremacist and far-right militant groups have infiltrated law enforcement agencies. Continue reading

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Amid Pandemic, Trump Petitions Supreme Court to Make Potential Covid-19 Exposure ‘the Price of Abortion Care’

“We’ve already blocked this policy in two federal courts—and we plan to do so again,” said the ACLU.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-26-2020

President Donld Trump petitioned the Supreme Court to reinstate an FDA rule mandating a doctor’s office visit for patients to obtain mifepristone, which is used to terminate an early pregnancy. (Photo: Robin Marty/Flickr)

Potentially subjecting patients to Covid-19 risks in the interest of violating the constitutional right to seek an abortion, President Donald Trump on Wednesday petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate a rule requiring patients to see a doctor in person before obtaining a medication used to provide abortion care.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit last month to suspend the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) restriction on behalf of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), New York State Academy of Family Physicians, and other reproductive healthcare providers and rights groups. Continue reading

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As Prisons Across US Report Surge in Covid-19 Cases, Supreme Court Rules Jail Does Not Have to Provide Basic Protections to Inmates

“There is no legal principle justifying this stay. The only ‘principle’ animating it is the belief of the Republican appointees to the Court that prisoners are subhuman.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-6-2020

Orange County Central Jail Complex. Photo by D Ramey Logan / CC BY-SA

As prisons and jails across the country continue to report Covid-19 outbreaks among inmates and staff, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that a county jail in California does not have to provide its population with basic sanitary and protective equipment or test symptomatic inmates.

Responding to an emergency application by officials at Orange County Jail, the court handed down a 5-4 ruling along partisan lines and issued a temporary stay on an earlier ruling by federal Judge Jesus Bernal. Continue reading

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ACLU Says Release of Adham Hassoun Confirms US Government Lacks Power to ‘Lock Someone Up Without Due Process’

“The government’s claim that it could imprison Mr. Hassoun indefinitely without any court looking into the facts is both deeply authoritarian and fundamentally unconstitutional.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-22-2020

The Trump administration attempted to employ a never-before-used provision of the USA PATRIOT Act to indefinitely detain Adham Hassoun, who has been released to an undisclosed country. (Photo: mlliu/flickr/cc)

The ACLU announced on Wednesday that the legal group’s client Adham Hassoun was released to an undisclosed country under a confidential court agreement after being detained by the Trump administration for over 17 months without charge or trial under a never-before-used provision of the USA PATRIOT Act.

“Mr. Hassoun was the first person to be unlawfully detained under the PATRIOT Act. This court victory makes clear he should be the last,” ACLU senior staff attorney Jonathan Hafetz said in a statement. Continue reading

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