Charles M. Blow
@CharlesMBlow 2 hours ago
Fannie Lou Hamer was the TRUTH!
Anti-Semitism in Britain remains at an alarming high, community watchdog says in latest report :: World Jewish Congress
Zwischen Hoffen und Bangen: Noch immer werden viele Menschen vermisst
‘I was excited to do the podcast because it is a creative way for me to be able to express myself in my own words and in my own way, even though I am prevented by the rules of the prison to be photographed, video recorded, or audio recorded. Amnesty’s podcast helps me from being erased from the public eye (or ear).’
Still speaking out
It’s now two and a half years since Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in military prison for leaking US military information to the WikiLeaks website in 2009 and 2010. She is currently detained in Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas.
Despite the very real restrictions on her freedom in prison, Chelsea has become a renowned free speech activist, making the most of opportunities to communicate from prison where possible to continue speaking out. Last year she tabled a challenge to US surveillance laws from her cell.
And she continues to speak out for transgender rights. She’s redefined how transgender people like her are treated in the US military; one year ago she won the right to become the first military prisoner to transition in prison.
The backstory: punished for whistleblowing on abuses
In 2009, 22-year-old Chelsea was serving as a military analyst in the US army in the US-led coalition war in Iraq. She was working with top-secret information. But some of the images and transcripts she was handling appeared to reveal human rights abuses – abuses committed by US forces and their allies. Abuses that the public would never know about.
In the interests of opening up public debate on the war, and in an attempt to show the world what she’d seen – what she later called ‘the true cost of war’ – Chelsea leaked around 750,000 confidential files to the website WikiLeaks. It was the biggest military information leak the US had ever seen. And it cost Chelsea her freedom.
US military authorities claimed that Chelsea had endangered public security by blowing the whistle: she was detained in solitary confinement and in 2013 appeared before a military tribunal, where she was convicted of numerous charges of theft and espionage (including six under the 1917 Espionage Act, often contested by free speech campaigners) – but cleared of the count of ‘aiding the enemy’ put to her (a charge that could have seen her sentenced to death).
In July 2013, a court dealt her one of the harshest sentences in recent US history for passing information to the media: 35 years in prison.
‘I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society’
Chelsea in a letter to President Barack Obama in 2013
Chelsea should be freed
At Amnesty, we’re calling on US authorities to free Chelsea immediately.
She is spending decades in prison because she shared information that she thought could shed a light on potential abuses and prompt meaningful public debate on the conflict. Prevented from using this in her defence at her tribunal and overcharged as a warning to others, Chelsea has been punished over the odds for actions.
Meanwhile, the US government has not investigated the abuses she exposed – while Chelsea has paid a high price for putting that information in the public realm.
How the Internet black market profits off trans discrimination The Internet enjoys a profitable hustle in shady prescription drugs. But more dangerous than the murky trade in Viagra or Xanax is the booming black market for trans people desperate to “DIY” their gender reassignment. By Caitlin Dewey • Read more »
|How the Internet black market profits off trans discrimination|
|The Internet enjoys a profitable hustle in shady prescription drugs. But more dangerous than the murky trade in Viagra or Xanax is the booming black market for trans people desperate to “DIY” their gender reassignment.|
|By Caitlin Dewey •|
Facebook’s ‘teen dating’ groups are every parent’s nightmare come to life
|Facebook’s ‘teen dating’ groups are every parent’s nightmare come to life|
|It has the full teen trifecta — sexting, cyberbullying and strangers — in one unmoderated public forum that anyone, of any age, can access.|
|By Caitlin Dewey|
Why the San Francisco Police Review Won’t Force Reform
A man holds up a picture of Mario Woods during a December meeting of San Francisco’s Police Commission. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Federal officials have intervened in yet another police department in the wake of a controversial shooting death of a black man, Mario Woods, which has brought protesters to the streets and renewed calls for change.
But this time, in San Francisco, the police won’t be forced to reform. At least not for now.
When the Justice Department intervenes in police departments, it typically launches what it calls a pattern or practice investigation into civil-rights violations. Federal officials can then force agencies into agreements to reform. They’ve done this more than 30 times in the past two decades, most recently in Cleveland and Ferguson, Mo.
San Francisco’s investigation, which was announced on Monday, will be different. It falls under a separate Justice Department program launched in 2011 known as the Collaborative Reform Initiative. Like the pattern-or-practice investigations, federal officials review the police department’s policies and practices and make recommendations for reform.
But under the collaborative process, it will be up to city officials to decide how or whether those changes will be made. San Francisco will have no binding agreement, and unlike pattern or practice cases, federal officials won’t be able to sue the police if they don’t accept their recommendations.
The Justice Department said it opened the review at the request of San Francisco’s mayor, Edwin Lee, and Police Chief Greg Suhr.
“The Department of Justice will engage the police department, the Mayor’s office, and the communities they serve in a constructive assessment,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch in announcing the review. “We are also committed to monitoring and assisting with the implementation of any reforms recommended by [federal investigators].”
Baltimore’s Failed Review Process
The reform process doesn’t preclude federal officials from opening a pattern-or-practice investigation later on, if they deem it necessary, as they did in Baltimore last year.
In October 2014, the Justice Department began a review of the Baltimore police department amid residents’ complaints of police misconduct. But then in April 2015, after Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American man, died in police custody, federal officials decided to open a pattern-or-practice investigation.
In explaining the decision at the time, Lynch told reporters that the collaborative review process needed support from the police and city officials, but also local residents. Community trust in the police had been “severed” in Baltimore, she said, and the issues facing the police department were “much more serious, and they were much more intense” than when the review process began.
Lynch said that federal officials would seek a court-enforceable agreement in Baltimore. The investigation there is still ongoing.
Does Collaborative Reform Work?
The Justice Department has had the ability to investigate departments since 1994, but the collaborative reform initiative only started in 2011. Just one department, the Las Vegas Metropolitan police, has completed the process so far, and data there suggests some progress.
In Las Vegas, federal officials were asked by police to review officers’ use of force after a 2011 series in the Las Vegas Review Journal investigating 20 years of officer-involved shootings. The paper found that several of the shootings could have been avoided, and raised questions about the police department’s internal accountability mechanisms.
By 2014, the Las Vegas police had implemented significant reforms, including updating its use of force policy, improving how incidents are reviewed and documented, and training officers on racial bias. The city adopted body cameras and introduced a more transparent investigative process for officer-involved shootings.
The Justice Department found that officer-involved shootings declined, from 25 in 2010 to 13 in 2013.
The Justice Department is currently working with seven other departments, in Milwaukee; Philadelphia; Spokane, Wash.; St. Louis County, Mo.; Salinas, Calif.; Calexico, Calif.; and Fayetteville, N.C.
In San Francisco, the Justice Department said it would issue a public report once it finishes its review, and then track progress over 18 months.
By Kinsee Morlan on Feb 01, 2016 05:00 am | View in browser
As more law enforcement officers strap on body cameras, there’s increasing confusion about the policies behind the practice.
Next month, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department has plans to start testing out body-worn cameras. The department has an interim policy in place, but an oversight group is asking for a few changes before the rules are solidified.
As VOSD contributor Kelly Davis reports, the county’s Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board recommended three key changes to the policy in a letter sent to Sheriff Bill Gore.
The group, an independent oversight board that investigates complaints against sheriff’s deputies and probation officers, says there’s one policy change at the top of its list: Don’t let deputies watch camera footage before writing reports. Why? Because it could influence them to change their reports to fit what unfolds on the footage.
Davis has more on CLERB’s recommendations…
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