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Mon, 29 May 2017
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Leaked documents: Private security firm compared DAPL protesters to 'jihadist insurgency'

© Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
A private security firm which started out as a US military contractor and has been hired by the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to counter indigenous activists protesting its construction, has used "military-style counterterrorism measures," the Intercept reports.

The online publication claims it has obtained over 100 internal documents of the TigerSwan security firm, leaked by one of its contractors, and has studied more than 1,000 documents via public records requests. The papers "reveal that TigerSwan spearheaded a multifaceted private security operation characterized by sweeping and invasive surveillance of protesters," it said.

The Intercept says the information provides "the first detailed picture" of the former US military and State Department contractor's "military style" methods. Its report claimed that the firm hired by Energy Transfer Partners treated the anti-project protesters as jihadists.


DHS might expand security hysteria to laptops by banning them on all international flights

© Lucas Jackson / Reuters
A guy using his laptop on a long flight to be productive or for entertainment - or a potential terrorist?
Laptops and other gadgets could soon become a thing of the past on all flights in and out of the US as Homeland Security Secretary hinted that the country could expand their ban on the devices in airplane cabins.

In late March, the US barred passengers traveling from eight middle eastern countries from carrying large electronic devices on board inbound flights over concerns that terrorists had created a new type of airline bomb.

Comment: In other words, the ban is based on absolutely nothing.

Earlier this month, officials decided not to extend that ban to flights between the US and EU countries. However, the Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, said he "might" now expand the ban to cover all international flights - meaning anyone traveling in or out of US would have to stow gadgets, including laptops and tablets, in the hold.

Comment: So laptops appear to now be the latest thing that the DHS wants people to get hysterical over. Meanwhile:

Heart - Black

Recent college grad and father of four named as victims in deadly Portland stabbing

Taliesin Namkai-Meche, 23
Two men were stabbed and killed in Portland on Friday after they tried to intervene while a man shouted racial slurs at two women, one of whom was wearing a hijab, police said.

Police on Saturday identified the victims as 53-year-old Ricky John Best and 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche. Best died at the scene, and Meche died at a hospital, police said. Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, of Portland was also stabbed in the attack and is in serious condition at a Portland hospital, police said. His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening, police said.

Heart - Black

Cop gives teen an MMA-style beating on his graduation day

Quinten Cruce was supposed to be celebrating the fact he'd completed all the requirements necessary for his high school graduation and earned his diploma. Instead, just hours before he walked across the graduation stage, he was getting his face beat on by a Lampasas Police Department's deputy.

His friend, Sydney, recorded the incident with police. Even though she claims to have an 8-minute video of the entire incident, which The Free Thought Process is in the process of obtaining, the 30-second video she uploaded shows enough of the encounter for viewers to draw their own conclusions.

Lampasas County Sheriff's Office Sheriff Jess Ramos, after reviewing the beating, suspended Logan Jones, the officer reportedly dishing out the beat down on Cruce. But as The Free Thought Project has often reported, suspended officers often receive their full salary while suspended, are investigated by their own departments, and often cleared of all wrongdoing.

Star of David

March of the Zealots: A report from 'Jerusalem Day'

© David Kattenburg)
Ecstatic Zionists celebrating the 50th anniversary of Israel's conquest of East Jerusalem, this past Wednesday, were greeted by equally passionate Jewish-American and Israeli protesters intent on blocking the zealots' march through the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem's old city, into the heart of the Arab quarter.

The annual March of the Flags — commemorating the unification of east and west Jerusalem in the wake of the June 1967 war — is customarily accompanied by tribal chanting and acts of hooliganism, as young Israelis parade through the old city's narrow alleyways chanting rousing slogans such as "Death to Arabs." Israeli police ensure in advance that Palestinian shops are shuttered tight — a process referred to as 'sterilization'. Hard to imagine a sensible shopkeeper doing otherwise.


Waging war against a mythical crime wave Attorney General Sessions ramps up the 'War on Drugs'

© Photo: Stephen Crowley / The New York Times
Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks about immigration, in Washington, DC, March 27, 2017. Sessions seeks to expand the failed "War on Drugs" by once again aggressively sentencing low-level drug offenses with mandatory minimum sentences.
In a two-page memo issued Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions advanced another step forward in his war against a mythical crime wave. The memo, Department Charging and Sentencing Policy, called for all federal prosecutors to "charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense" for federal crimes, including drug offenses. Sessions argued that such an approach was "moral, just, and produces consistency," emphasizing the importance of advancing "public safety" and promoting "respect for our legal system." New York magazine called the memo Sessions' "first big step toward bringing back the war on drugs." A spokesperson for the ACLU, Udi Ofer said that Sessions was risking the repetition of a "vicious cycle of incarceration."

In particular, Sessions' memo resurrects federal drug laws' emphasis on mandatory minimum sentencing requirements. These minimums provide lengthy compulsory penalties for specific amounts of drugs, virtually removing judges' discretion. A 2010 study by the United States Sentencing Commission concluded that mandatory minimums were a key contributor to mass incarceration as well as a major factor in the disproportionate incarceration of Black and Latin people.


Video shows cops beat father, ignore cries for help until he dies

Only 48 hours after he made a Facebook post thanking God for his kids, a 35-year-old father of four, Michael Sabbie, would die in a concrete cage. His last moments alive were caught on a jail's surveillance cameras as he uttered the all-too-familiar phrase 'I can't breathe' — 19 times.

As none of the officers involved in his death have been held accountable, his family has filed a lawsuit this week to seek some semblance of justice.

"He is a medically-vulnerable person. So he reported at intake that he had hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and asthma," said Erik Heipt, who is representing Sabbie's family in the lawsuit against the jail filed earlier this week, according to CBS.


Rest in Peace: Southern rock music icon Gregg Allman has died

© Kevork Djansezian / Global Look Press
Gregg Allman
Singer and songwriter Gregg Allman has died aged 69 from unknown causes. The musician found the 'Allman Brothers Band' along with his brother Duane, who died in 1971, shortly after they achieved commercial success.

"It is with deep sadness that we announce that Gregg Allman, a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band, passed away peacefully at his home in Savannah, Georgia," the statement said.

"Gregg struggled with many health issues over the past several years. During that time, Gregg considered being on the road playing music with his brothers and solo band for his beloved fans, essential medicine for his soul. Playing music lifted him up and kept him going during the toughest of times."

Comment: Rest in Peace, Gregg. Your music will live on!

Gregg Allman Best Moments, Emotional Tribute - (Compilation)

2 + 2 = 4

Student given 'Most likely to be a terrorist' award in mock ceremony

A teacher at a Texas junior high school was suspended after she gave one of her students a "Most likely to become a terrorist" award on Tuesday.

Just one day after a deadly terrorist bombing in Manchester, England, that killed 22, seventh grade student at Lance Corporal Anthony Aguirre Junior High, Lizeth Villanueva, said her teacher gave her the controversial award in class.

"When she said my name I turned around like what, what did she just say? I was very upset. I was mad but didn't show it," Villanueva told Fox 26 Houston.

Other awards handed out to students include "Most likely to blend in with white people," "Most likely to be homeless in Guatemala" and "Most likely to cry for every little thing."

Villanueva said teachers were handing out the certificates to honors students part of an advanced learning program as part of a mock awards ceremony, but some students and parents did not find the joke funny.

"It is kind of hard to believe somebody would do that," said Ena Hernandez, Villanueva's mother. She added that the teacher should be fired.

Snakes in Suits

Gay father accused of touching son's genitals in latest United Airlines scandal

© Kamil Krzaczynski / Reuters
United Airlines has issued yet another public apology for mistreating a customer. This time, the airline said sorry to a gay father accused of having his hand "too close" to his son's genitals by a flight attendant.

Passenger Henry Amador-Batten was accused of inappropriately touching his son on a flight from Puerto Rico on May 19, and was detained at North Carolina's Raleigh-Durham International Airport for about an hour after the incident.

United has suffered a number of high profile public relations catastrophes in recent months beginning with a video which surfaced online of a bloodied passenger being dragged off the plane by law enforcement.

The incident caused a dramatic, but short lived, slide in the airline's share price, dragged public confidence to all-time lows and sparked a social media backlash.

Comment: See also:
  • Dr. Dao's United ordeal is the inevitable outcome of deregulation
  • United Airlines' PR nightmare continues as giant bunny dies on flight - UPDATE