Society's Child

Post-It Note

Court rules US targeted-killing memorandums to remain secret

A US military MQ-9 Reaper drone flies by during a training mission at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada, November 17, 2015
A federal court has withheld the release of memorandums that would shed light on the legal basis of the US targeted killings overseas.

In a 22-page ruling released Monday by the US 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, a panel of three judges denied a joint effort by the New York Times and The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to obtain the memos under the US Freedom of Information Act, according to Reuters. The ruling was issued on October 22, but was kept under temporary seal to provide time for appeal. The decision largely upheld the initial ruling by US District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan who rejected the plea on October 31, 2014.

The Times and the ACLU were prompted to legally seek the documents after a 2011 US military drone strike in Yemen killed a US citizen named Anwar al-Awlaki. Al-Awlaki, a cleric who had reportedly joined the ranks of an al-Qaeda affiliate in the Arab country, was accused of directing several terrorist attacks.

The ACLU and the New York Times had initially sought the release of certain memos from the US Department of Justice's office of legal counsel on targeted killings but a district court order rejected their bid. ACLU attorneys and lawyers for the Times argued in their appeal request that the memos constituted "working law" that must be publicly released.

Jameel Jaffer, ACLU's deputy legal director, strongly opposed the ruling, saying that it allows three "crucial legal memos" to remain secret. "In a democracy, there should be no room for 'secret law,' and the courts should not play a role in perpetuating it," Jaffer said. "The government should not be using lethal force based on standards that are explained only vaguely and on facts that are never published or independently reviewed," he added.

Comment: Is there no end to the subterfuge that protects and insulates the actions of the US to keep it "consequence-free?" The truth is the US is in the remote-assassination business, without conscience or discrimination.


Strategy of Tension? Bomb explodes in central Athens outside business federation offices

© Alkis Konstantinidis / Reuters
Forensic experts search for evidence on a street where a bomb exploded outside the entrance of the Hellenic Business Federation offices in Athens, Greece, November 24, 2015.
A bomb has exploded outside the Federation of Greek Industries' offices in Athens. The blast, thought to be the work of domestic groups, damaged nearby buildings but did not cause any casualties.

The explosive device had been placed in a backpack near the entrance of the Hellenic Business Federation's offices. It was triggered by a timer set for around 3:30m local time.


Deadly explosions at hotel hosting Egyptian election judges in Arish

© Google Maps
Two bombs have exploded near a hotel in Egypt's volatile Sinai region, where election judges were staying. At least three people have been killed, including a policeman, and 12 injured, security and medical sources said, as cited by Reuters.

The explosions in Arish come a day after the second round of a parliamentary election. The Army and police cordoned off the scene, while ambulances rushed there. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Reuters.

A suicide bomber detonated the bomb in front of the Swiss Inn hotel in the city, a security source told the Vetogate news portal. Reuters cited security sources who said the terrorist attempted to drive his bomb-laden vehicle into the hotel before security forces opened fire, causing the car to explode.


New Jersey cop sues over getting fired for blowing whistle on fellow officer for targeting minorities, perjury

A New Jersey police officer who complained about his department's misconduct is now fighting for his job. He says he is being punished for accusing colleagues of lying to a judge, targeting minorities and strip-searching a minor.

Kyle Pirog, a 16-year veteran at the Bedminster Township Police Department, has filed a civil suit seeking unspecified damages, claiming that his department violated New Jersey's Conscientious Employee Protection Act by retaliating against him.

He was initially demoted after going to the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office with his concerns after his superiors failed to act on them, the Newark Star-Ledger reported on Monday. Now his attorney, Claudia A. Reis, says that Pirog's department has escalated its retaliation. He has been suspended indefinitely without pay since August, with termination pending an internal affairs investigation.

"Police and police departments are entrusted to protect the well-being and safety of the public and most of them do it admirably," Reis said. "But every once in a while you have someone who steps out of that role and targets people. When that happens, you need people to step forward and out of the blue code of silence to report those instances. To then target those very people for retaliation undermines what police and police departments are entrusted to do."

The suit was filed in Morris County instead of the neighboring Somerset County, because Pirog claims that his former coworker lied to the judge who serves the Somerset County Superior Court. The Bedminster Township Police Department, however, says that they are undergoing procedures to terminate Pirog because he committed five rules violations at the department, not in retaliation for whistleblowing. These include running his radar for long periods of time without making stops, falsifying his daily blotter and idling for long periods of time without performing police functions.

Comment: It is sickening that good policing is not rewarded these days.

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Terrorist threats causes US State Dept. to issue travel warning for Americans

© Jonathan Alcorn / Reuters
The US Department of State issued a Worldwide Travel Alert on Monday, warning travelers of the potential risks of terrorism by the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and other unaffiliated individuals inspired by those groups.

The alert references past threats made against "large sporting events, theatres, open markets, and aviation services" and cites attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey, and Mali during the past year, as well as the downed Russian airliner over Egypt.


Innocent man struck over 50 times by San Antonio cops left paralyzed; officers receive no punishment

© Courtesy of the Carols Family
A San Antonio man who was brutalized by three cops last year in a case of mistaken identity is now paralyzed from the chest down after complications during a surgery to repair his spine.

Roger Carlos, 43, has had to undergo multiple surgeries on his upper spine and his neck to relieve pain and pressure from herniated discs that resulted from his vicious beating by two SWAT officers and a drug task force officer in May 2014. The assault stemmed from the officers' pursuit of another man on drug and weapons charges. Instead of their suspect, they found Carlos, a father of three sons under the age of 10, instead.

Carlos, who has no criminal record, was simply outside using his phone to take pictures of his wife's medical practice, KENS5 reported. He has maintained that despite the mistaken identity, he had been complying with police when he was struck over 50 times.

Beyond his spinal and neck injuries, Carlos also had his tooth broken, a large gash cut above his eye and swelling of his skull. A CT scan also recently revealed a previously undiscovered brain aneurysm. "It's physically disabled him. It's mentally disabled him. He still hasn't since that day been able to get over this incident," his wife Ronnie Carlos told KENS5.

A police disciplinary board recommended a mere 15-day suspension for the trio of officers, but even that was later shortened to only five days. None of the officers ended up serving any suspension at all, however. At least the two SWAT officers, Carlos Chavez and Virgilo Gonzalez, remain employed with the SWAT team. The drug task force officer has never been publicly identified due to confidentiality issues with his position.

Comment: Only in a police state would there be no punishment for brutally assaulting an innocent person who was complying with police.

'Comply or die' in the American Police State


This Thanksgiving, we should be saying 'no thank you' to the tyranny of the American police state

"Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster, and what has happened once in 6000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world."

—Daniel Webster
Thanksgiving is not what it once was.

Then again, America is not what she once was.

Americans have become so enthralled by the "bread and circuses" of our age—tables groaning under the weight of an abundance of rich foods, televisions tuned to sports and entertainments spectacles, stores competing for Black Friday shoppers, and a general devotion to excess and revelry—that we have lost sight of the true purpose of Thanksgiving.

Comment: Sadly, when the economy finally does irretrievably implode we can expect all of the fascistic forces mentioned here to go into overdrive. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.


UN Human Rights Council leader Saudi Arabia sentences poet to death


"... and when they complain about not being able to watch the films they want - 50 lashes in public!"
A Palestinian poet and leading member of Saudi Arabia's nascent contemporary art scene has been sentenced to death for renouncing Islam.

Fayadh, 35, a key member of the British-Saudi art organisation Edge of Arabia, was originally sentenced to four years in prison and 800 lashes by the general court in Abha, a city in the south-west of the ultraconservative kingdom, in May 2014.

But after his appeal was dismissed he was retried last month and a new panel of judges ruled that his repentance did not prevent his execution.

Fayadh's supporters believe he is being punished by hardliners for posting a video online showing the religious police (mutaween) in Abha lashing a man in public. "Some Saudis think this was revenge by the morality police," said Kareem.

The case highlights the tensions between hardline religious conservatives and the small but growing number of artists and activists who are tentatively pushing the boundaries of freedom of speech in Saudi Arabia, where cinema is banned and there are no art schools.

Comment: Saudi Arabia: Totalitarian iron-fisted dictatorship. Barbaric "religious" extremists. Terrorist supporters extraordinaire. Best buddies with the U.S. Gov't, oil industry and military-industrial-complex. Getting the picture?

Cloud Precipitation

All out war on self sufficiency: Several U.S. States criminalizing rainwater collection

Collecting rainwater is classically seen as a safe and sustainable way of supplying your household with an off-the-grid water supply. Some people collect rainwater only for a backup reservoir, while others prefer to go all the way and maintain their household with pure off-the-grid rainwater collection. This method ensures water during emergencies, can help control floods, saves money and liberates us from company-dependence for our water.

Consequently, this freedom to collect our own rainwater is currently under attack. State laws have been set up in several U.S. States including Oregon, Utah, California, Florida, Colorado and Washington that prohibit the collection, or "diversion" of rainwater, including water that is falling on your own property and is to be used for your own private use or as an environmental conservation technique.


Russia shuts down Church of Scientology

© Sergei Fadeichev/TASS
Scientology church in Moscow.
The Moscow City Court on Monday ruled to shut down the local Church of Scientology at the Russian Justice Ministry's demand.

According to the ministry, the church regulations contradict the federal law on the freedom of religion.

The Moscow Church of Scientology registered in the capital in 1994 has been ordered to set up a commission to handle its liquidation within six months.

The organization's lawyers said the Justice Ministry gave no serious reasons which "could influence the liquidation."

"The organization violated no bans," lawyers said.

Comment: Another country banning the Church of Scientology.