Tag Archives: Police State

Victory Over ‘Civil Liberties Train Wreck’ as Federal Judge Rules US Terror Watchlist Unconstitutional

After years of abuse and secrecy, court’s decision seen by rights advocates as very welcome but “long overdue”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-5-2019

A Transportation Security Administration agent at a checkpoint verifying passenger identification in John Glenn Columbus International Airport. (Photo: Michael Ball/cc)

A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that the government’s terror watchlist violates the civil rights of Americans placed on it, opening the door for a major piece of legislation from the global war on terror being overturned.

“This is a really important ruling, long overdue,” said Jameel Jaffer, director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. “The watchlist is overbroad, opaque, and arbitrary—a civil liberties train wreck.” Continue reading

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Legal Aid Group for Immigrants Says ICE Shutting Down Hotline Was ‘Retaliation’ for Advocacy Work

“The line’s termination undermines trust and accountability of government institutions, dissuades public service by community organizations, and further isolates vulnerable detained individuals.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-26-2019

The non-profit group Freedom for Immigrants is denouncing ICE for shutting down its pro bono hotline offering legal aid for immigrants in detention earlier this month. (Photo: @MigrantFreedom

A non-profit legal aid organization is threatening action against ICE unless the agency restores its pro bono hotline which has enabled tens of thousands of detained immigrants to obtain legal counsel.

The National Immigration Detention Hotline was available to immigrants in ICE detention through ICE’s pro bono extension, *9233#, but the agency blocked access to the hotline on August 7. According to Freedom for Immigrants, the group that ran the service, ICE objected to the organization’s work publicizing the harsh and unsafe conditions the Trump administration has subjected immigrants to. Continue reading

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‘A Dystopian Surveillance State Being Built in Plain Sight’: Pentagon Tests Radar-Equipped Balloons to Spy on Vehicles Across Midwest

“These programs are not about stopping violence, they’re about social control.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-2-2019

The Pentagon is experimenting with the use of radars attached to high-altitude balloons this summer, sending up to 25 balloons across six Midwestern states to conduct surveillance on vehicles over a 25-mile swath under each balloon. (Photo: Tony Webster/Flickr/cc)

Millions of Americans across the Midwest this summer are being subjected to surveillance from above as the Pentagon experiments with the use of surveillance radars attached to high-altitude balloons.

As The Guardian reported Friday, the defense and aerospace contractor Sierra Nevada Corporation was authorized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to send up to 25 balloons across six states to track vehicles. Continue reading

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‘Ethnic Cleansing With Impunity’: Israel Denounced for Demolishing Dozens of Palestinian Homes in Violation of International Law

“Such actions amount to war crimes,” declared Amnesty International

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-22-2019

Unfortunately, this has been going on for years. This 2006 photo is of IDF forces demolishing a house in Nablus. Photo: Michael Loadenthal/flickr

Global outcry erupted on Monday—with one critic condemning the move as “ethnic cleansing with impunity”—after Israeli forces demolished dozens of homes in Sur Baher, a Palestinian village that straddles East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

“These demolitions are a flagrant violation of international law and part of a systematic pattern by the Israeli authorities to forcibly displace Palestinians in the occupied territories; such actions amount to war crimes,” Saleh Higazi, deputy Middle East and North Africa director for Amnesty International, said in a statement Monday. Continue reading

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‘Close the Camps!’: Protesters March Against Trump’s Plan to Imprison Migrant Kids at Site of Japanese, Indigenous Incarceration

Fort Sill was the site of one of the nation’s Japanese American internment camps during World War II, decades after it was the site of imprisoned native communities

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-20-2019

Immigrant rights advocates marched to Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma on Saturday, July 20, 2019. (Photo: United We Dream via Twitter)

Hundreds of activists rallied in over 100° heat in Lawton, Oklahoma on Saturday to demand the Trump administration stop the incarceration of asylum-seeking children.

“Close the camps!” the crowd of protesters shouted on their march to Fort Sill. Continue reading

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As ICE Raids Begin, Advocates Remind Immigrants That ‘You Have Rights’

“I can only imagine the fear our immigrant communities feel this morning.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-14-2019

Photo: ICE (Public domain)

Long-feared ICE raids began quietly over the weekend as the agency moved slowly to lead off what’s expected to be several days of actions targeting families as part of President Donald Trump’s war on immigrants.

Plans for the raids were made public on July 11. Reporting from The New York Times revealed the scope of the planned raids—targeting 10 cities and thousands of families—and President Donald Trump, in a tweet, confirmed the operation. Continue reading

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‘Embarrassing Nepotism’: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Appoints Son as Ambassador to US

One critic said that it’s “only a matter of time now before the son of Brazil’s wannabe despot has an official meeting with the daughter of America’s wannabe despot.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-12-2019

Eduardo Bolsonaro (L) joined his father, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, for a March 2019 meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House. (Photo: Eduardo Bolsonaro/Instagram)

In a move critics condemned as “embarrassing nepotism,” right-wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday appointed his son Eduardo to serve as ambassador to the United States.

Though the appointment still needs approval from Brazil’s Federal Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a confirmation vote by all members of the upper house, Eduardo has said he would resign from his current post in the lower house of the country’s National Congress to serve as ambassador. As Eduardo put it, according to Reuters, “If it is a mission given by the president, I would accept.” Continue reading

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On ‘Hottest Day in History of France,’ World Told ‘Do Not Look Away’ as Police Tear-Gas Climate Campaigners in Paris

“Watch this video and ask yourself,” said Greta Thunberg, “who is defending who?”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-28-2019

Activists with Extinction Rebellion pepper-sprayed by police as they occupied the Sully Bridge in Paris on Friday. (Photo: Extinction Symbol/Screenshot/via Twitter)

French riot police tear-gassed climate protesters in Paris on Friday as the county sweltered under record heat.

Activists with Extinction Rebellion (XR) were occupying a bridge over the Seine to demand the French government declare a climate emergency and take necessary action to avert planetary catastrophe.

“We need to civilly disrupt because, otherwise, nothing is going to be done,” a British woman who took part in the protest told Euronews. Continue reading

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Citing CIA’s Dark History, Librarians Protest Agency’s Recruiting at Their Conference

“Everything they stand for is a violation of the values of librarianship, so we protested.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-24-2019

A protester holds a sign in front of the CIA’s exhibitor booth at the American Library Association’s 2019 annual conference. (Photo: Callan Bignoli)

A group of librarians demanded the American Library Association abide by its values on Friday as they staged a protest of the CIA’s presence and recruitment at the professional organization’s annual conference.

At the convention, which is taking place June 20-25 in Washington, D.C., the CIA is among the hundreds of exhibitors. Continue reading

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Trump Prepares to Open New ‘Captured Children’ Facility in Texas as Hundreds of Rights Groups Call for Decriminalizing Migration

Federal policies on immigration continue trending in a more punitive direction

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-20-2019

Otay Detention Center, San Diego. Photo: BBC World Service/flickr

A facility to house over 1,000 undocumented children is set to open Monday in Carrizo Springs, Texas—just days after almost 250 groups called on Congress to decriminalize migration and chart a new course for the country’s border policies.

The Carrizo Springs concentration camp, which was initially built by Stratton Oilfield Systems as worker housing, will be run by Texas non-profit BCFS Health and Human Services for the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). BCFS runs child detention centers for the federal government in Tornillo, Texas, roughly 489 miles from the Carrizo Springs facility. Continue reading

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