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Showing posts from July, 2013

Guantanamo Officials Dole Out Solitary Confinement, Beatings to Break Hunger Strike

Andrea Germanos @ Common Dreams - A first-hand account from a prisoner at Guantánamo reveals the abusive tactics prison authorities are using to break the prisoners' hunger strike.
A colonel in charge said that “Any person who continues on the hunger strike will be moved to a solitary confinement and will be removed from communal areas,” Yemeni detainee Samir Moqbel told his lawyer...read more.

Nick Clegg: business department will investigate zero-hours contracts

Guardian UK - Nick Clegg has disclosed that the business department is undertaking a review of the breadth and impact of zero-hours contracts.
The deputy prime minister said he was personally concerned at the level of insecurity created by the contracts, even if he believed in labour market flexibility.
His comments came after the Guardian revealed that the retailer Sports Direct employed 20,000 staff on zero-hours terms, and that Buckingham Palace, the royal family's London residence, along with Cineworld and the Tate galleries catering service, hired workers under the controversial employment practice to keep employment costs at a minimum.  Read more.

NSA: Why Metadata Is Incredibly Intimate

Matt Harwood @ ACLU - One of the most disingenuous arguments in the aftermath of the NSA spying revelations is that the American people shouldn't be concerned about the government hoovering up its sensitive information because it's only metadata--or a fancy way of saying data about the data.
"This is just metadata," Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein assured the American people, referring to the NSA's bulk collection of Americans call records. "There is no content involved." President Obama and his national security officials have made similar assurances.
Feel better? You shouldn't and here's why.  Read more.

Bradley Manning lynched by the US government

RT.com - The verdict for Manning was predetermined, and the show trial in a kangaroo court – a post-modern American remix of China in the 1960s during the Cultural Revolution – just signed, sealed and delivered it.
The President of the United States (POTUS) had already said he was guilty. US corporate media had been screaming for three years he was guilty. Now the US government – who criminalized Manning with “evil intent” - has shown there will be hell to pay for anyone who dares to reveal American war crimes, which are, by definition, unpunishable.  Read more.

'Blow the Whistle, Face Life in Jail': Progressives Slam Verdict in Manning Case

Jon Queally @ Common Dreams - Though some found solace in the fact that the 25-year-old US Army whistleblower was found "not guilty" on the "most outrageous" charge of "aiding the enemy," voices across the progressive community were expressing mixtures of outrage and sadness after Judge Col. Denise Lind found Manning guilty on 19 other counts that could lead to a sentence of more than 100 years in prison.  Read more.

Green Light for City-Owned San Francisco Bank

Ellen Brown @ Web of Debt - When the Occupiers took an interest in moving San Francisco’s money into a city-owned bank in 2011, it was chiefly on principle, in sympathy with the nationwide Move Your Money campaign.  But recent scandals have transformed the move from a political statement into a matter of protecting the city’s deposits and reducing its debt burden.  The chief roadblock to forming a municipal bank has been the concern that it was not allowed under state law, but a legal opinion issued by Deputy City Attorney Thomas J. Owen has now overcome that obstacle.  Read more.

XKeyscore: NSA tool collects 'nearly everything a user does on the internet'

Guardian UK - A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its "widest-reaching" system for developing intelligence from the internet.  Read more.

Why is Italy still so racist?

Guardian UK - The events of the last few weeks have proved, beyond doubt, that Italy has a serious problem with racism. Bananas have been thrown at Cécile Kyenge, Italy's first black government minister. A (female) councillor for the Northern League has said she should be raped. A Northern League senator has likened her to an orangutan. Last week the AC Milan footballer, Kevin Constant, walked off the pitch after a barrage of abuse, just as Kevin-Prince Boateng did earlier this year.  Read more.

WikiLeaks' Assange condemns Manning verdict, Obama

Reuters - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange accused President Barack Obama of "national security extremism" on Tuesday after an American military judge convicted Bradley Manning over the biggest leak of classified documents in U.S. history.
Praising Manning as "the most important journalistic source that the world has ever seen", Assange said the U.S. soldier, who prosecutors said had supplied WikiLeaks with hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents, did not receive a fair trial and called for the verdict to be overturned.  Read more.

JP Morgan to pay $410m in penalties for manipulating electricity prices

Guardian UK - US energy regulators have hit JP Morgan with $410m in penalties after accusing it of manipulating electricity prices in California and the mid-west.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said the bank used improper bidding strategies to squeeze excessive payments from the agencies that run the power grids in California and the Midwest.  Read more.

Ralph Nader: Progressives are ‘marginalized’ in Democratic Party

MSNBC - Ralph Nader, former presidential candidate and author of Told You So, says that the progressive movement has become marginalized within the Democratic Party and criticized President Obama for not doing more to stand up for labor issues.
Specifically, Nader said that he believes that liberals have lost their bargaining power because they do not challenge establishment Democrats or show a “movement sensibility,” in a web-exclusive interview...read more.

Bradley Manning: Not the Enemy

James Ball @ Guardian UK - On Wednesday , Private First Class Bradley Manning was handed a verdict on charges he faced in relation to leaking classified material – after 1,160 days of pre-trial detention. His crime was to release military documents to WikiLeaks.
Contained within this material was footage of a US military helicopter gunning down a father taking his children to school; evidence of a death squad operating in Afghanistan, and files showing that rather than containing just "the worst of the worst", Guantánamo held dementia patients, taxi drivers and prisoners of the Taliban.  Read more.

The Moral Verdict on Bradley Manning: A Conviction of Love in Action

Normon Solomon @ Common Dreams - The sun rose with a moral verdict on Bradley Manning well before the military judge could proclaim his guilt. The human verdict would necessarily clash with the proclamation from the judicial bench.
In lockstep with administrators of the nation’s war services, judgment day arrived on Tuesday to exact official retribution.  Read more.

In NSA Leaks, Edward Snowden Performed a Service

Eugene Robinson @ Washington Post - Edward Snowden’s renegade decision to reveal the jaw-dropping scope of the National Security Agency’s electronic surveillance is being vindicated — even as Snowden himself is being vilified.
Intelligence officials in the Obama administration and their allies on Capitol Hill paint the fugitive analyst as nothing but a traitor who wants to harm the United States. Many of those same officials grudgingly acknowledge, however, that public debate about the NSA’s domestic snooping is now unavoidable.  Read more.

Gulf of Mexico's fertilizer induced 'dead zone' bigger than average but not a record

USA Today - This summer's "dead zone" at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, where there's so little oxygen that starfish suffocate, is bigger than average but doesn't approach record size as scientists had predicted, according to findings released Monday.
The area of low oxygen covers 5,840 square miles of the Gulf floor - roughly the size of Connecticut...read more.

Monogamy may have evolved to prevent infanticide

Science Recorder - Social monogamy, although common in birds, is much less frequent among mammals. Primates, however, tend to be more monogamous than other mammals, with about 27 percent of primate species living in pairs. Scientists have long debated why this should be so. Now, researchers have concluded that monogamy among primates, including humans, evolved because such an arrangement protected infants from being killed by rival males.  Read more.

How We Are Impoverished, Gentrified and Silenced - and What to Do About It

John Pilger @ Truthout - I have known my postman for more than 20 years. Conscientious and good-humored, he is the embodiment of public service at its best. The other day, I asked him, “Why are you standing in front of each door like a soldier on parade?”
“New system,” he replied. “I am no longer required simply to post the letters through the door. I have to approach every door in a certain way and put the letters through in a certain way.”  Read more.

Bradley Manning [guilty?] verdict to be announced on Tuesday

RT.com - The judge presiding over the case of Army private first class Bradley Manning will announce her verdict Tuesday afternoon from Ft. Meade, Maryland.

Col. Denise Lind, the presiding judge in the court-martial of the United States v. Pfc Manning, said Monday morning that the long-awaited verdict will be delivered at 1 p.m. EDT from the military courthouse at the Ft. Meade Army Base outside of Baltimore.  Read more.

Survey: 4 in 5 in US face near-poverty, no work

Talking Points Memo (TMP) - Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.
Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.  Read more.

Alarming number of US citizens face poverty, 80% suffer joblessness

RT.com - Four out of five US adults come to grips with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least some parts of their lives. Over 41 percent of the nation's poor are whites, according to a new report.
In 2011, 46.2 million people in the US were living in poverty and the nation’s official poverty rate was 15 percent, up from 14.3 percent in 2009, according to the US Census Bureau. That figure appears to be the highest number seen in the 52 years for which poverty estimates have been recorded.  Read more.

'Do the Right Thing': World Rallies Behind Bradley Manning

Sarah Lazare @ Common Dreams - Army private Bradley Manning received an outpouring of support over the weekend as people around the world launched rallies, vigils, and civil disobedience actions demanding the release of the whistleblower.
Yet, inside the courtroom, Manning has been met with anything but support: the whistleblower faces a last-minute change in charges that his lawyers say defies due process and could weaken his defense.  Read more.

The Big Payoff: NSA awash with cash

Lee Fang @ The Nation - Though it failed by a twelve-vote margin, Congressman Justin Amash’s (R-MI) amendment last week to curtail the NSA’s dragnet surveillance efforts reveals new fault lines in the debate over privacy. The roll call for the vote shows that 111 Democrats and ninety-four Republicans supporting the measure, which was co-sponsored by Amash’s Democratic colleague, John Conyers.
The amendment failed as the White House and NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander personally lobbied lawmakers to oppose the measure.  Read more.

Benghazi jailbreak: Over 1,000 prisoners escape in Libya amid protests

RT.com - More than 1,000 detainees have escaped from a prison in eastern Libya, security forces told AP. It comes as hundreds of Libyans protest against the killing of a prominent anti-Brotherhood activist, blaming Islamists for his death.
The mass jailbreak occurred at Koyfiya prison in the eastern city of Benghazi on Saturday, according to security official Mohammed Hejazi.  Read more.

CIA Agent: Bush Officials Threw Us 'Under Bus' over Rendition

Jon Queally @ Common Dreams - A former CIA operative is speaking out for the first time about a snatch-and-grab operation in the streets of Milan nearlty a decade ago that led to the victim's torture and extended imprisonment by saying that high-level Bush officials were systematically shielded from responsibility while lower-level operatives were indicted for the crime.  Read more.

Edward Snowden better off in Russia than US, his father says

Guardian UK - The father of the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden says his son has been so vilified by the Obama administration and members of Congress that he is now better off staying in Russia.
Lon Snowden had been working behind the scenes with lawyers to try to find a way his son could get a fair trial in the US. Edward Snowden has been charged in federal court with violating the Espionage Act by leaking details of NSA surveillance.
But in a telephone interview with the Associated Press, the elder Snowden said he had lost faith in recent weeks that his son would be treated fairly by the justice department.  Read more.

America's Real Subversives: FBI Spying Then, NSA Surveillance Now

Amy Goodman @ Common Dreams - As the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington approaches, commemorating that historic gathering where Martin Luther King Jr gave his famous "I have a dream" speech, it is important to recall the extent to which King was targeted by the government's domestic spying apparatus. The FBI operation against King is one of the most shameful episodes in the long history of our government's persecution of dissenters.  Read more.

Juror B29, ‘Maddy,’ says ‘Zimmerman got away with murder’

Washington Post - Two weeks after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, the only person on the jury who is a member of an ethnic minority said in an ABC News interview that Zimmerman “got away with murder.’
Juror B29, identified only by her first name Maddy, sat down with ABC’s Robin Roberts, to discuss the trial for “Good Morning America.” As the first juror to show her face on camera, Maddy expressed both conviction and regret.  Read more.

Democratic Establishment Unmasked: Prime Defenders of NSA Bulk Spying

Glenn Greenwald @ Common Dreams - One of the worst myths Democratic partisans love to tell themselves - and everyone else - is that the GOP refuses to support President Obama no matter what he does. Like its close cousin - the massively deceitful inside-DC grievance that the two parties refuse to cooperate on anything - it's hard to overstate how false this Democratic myth is. When it comes to foreign policy, war, assassinations, drones, surveillance, secrecy, and civil liberties, President Obama's most stalwart, enthusiastic defenders are often found among the most radical precincts of the Republican Party.  Read more.

Larry Summers will destroy the economy (again)

Salon - Multiple sources confirm to Salon that the White House is leaning toward choosing Larry Summers to replace Ben Bernanke as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, a prospect which has made many liberals apoplectic. Previously, the biggest booster of Summers appeared to be Summers himself, as he was waging a one-man campaign for the position. But over the past week, he has won the backing of influential players at the White House with the ear of the president, many of whom are his personal friends and colleagues.  Read more.

Obama's Escalating War on Freedom of the Press

Normon Solomon - The part of the First Amendment that prohibits “abridging the freedom … of the press” is now up against the wall, as the Obama administration continues to assault the kind of journalism that can expose government secrets.
Last Friday the administration got what it wanted -- an ice-cold chilling effect -- from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled on the case of New York Times reporter James Risen. The court “delivered a blow to investigative journalism in America by ruling that reporters have no First Amendment protection that would safeguard...read more.

Detroit's Decline Is a Distinctively Capitalist Failure

Richard Wolff @ Guardian UK - Capitalism as a system ought to be judged by its failures as well as its successes.
The automobile-driven economic growth of the 1950s and 1960s made Detroit a globally recognized symbol of successful capitalist renewal after the great depression and the war (1929-1945). High-wage auto industry jobs with real security and exemplary benefits were said to prove capitalism's ability to generate and sustain a large "middle class", one that could include African Americans, too. Auto-industry jobs became inspirations and models for what workers across America might seek and acquire – those middle-class components of a modern "American Dream".  Read more.

OccupyHomes Rallies Around Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

Claire Glass @ Truthout - Retired postal clerk Jaymie Kelly of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is holding onto her home by a thread, despite having paid five times its value in ballooning monthly payments. She received a letter from the attorney general dated in May agreeing to delay eviction for 30 days past her redemption period, which expired April 24. The next day Freddie Mac filed an eviction summons, and shortly thereaftershe appeared in court with representatives from activist group OccupyHomes Minneapolis (OHM), which managed to convince Freddie Mac's attorney to back off temporarily.  Read more.

President Carter Says America Has No Functioning Democracy

Max Eternity @ Truthout - At an Atlantic Bridge meeting on July 16th, a former US President called out one of the dominating, global elephants-in-the-room, saying “America has no functioning democracy.“
These words came from President Jimmy Carter, and continue the trend of Carter’s clarion-call lucidity on world affairs, especially when it comes to truth telling in and on America.  Read more.

Trayvon Martin Stood His Ground and Got Murdered for It: So Did Native Americans

Mark Karlin @ Buzzflash - In one respect -- amidst an acquittal verdict of George Zimmerman that has been interpreted depending upon the prism through which one sees racism in America -- what Trayvon Martin did when encountered by the stalking, armed-vigilante who defied police orders to stop following Martin, was quite simple: Martin followed the ALEC-NRA sponsored law.  He "stood his ground."  Read more.

In Detroit Bankruptcy, It's the Poor Who Lose

Sarah Lazare @ Common Dreams - Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina ruled Friday afternoon that Detroit's bankruptcy filing is "unconstitutional" and must be withdrawn.
The ruling, came after lawyers representing the city's pension funds won an emergency hearing to block the bankruptcy filing.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said the state will now request a hearing with the Michigan Court of Appeals.  Read more.

A mom who was denied food stamps shoots kids, kills self

CBS News - A Texas woman who for months was unable to qualify for food stamps pulled a gun in a state welfare office and held a seven-hour standoff with police that ended with her shooting her two children before killing herself, officials said Tuesday.
The 10-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl remained in critical condition Tuesday.  Read more.

Helen Thomas: Journalist Extraordinare Dead at 92

Common Dreams - Long-time White House correspondent Helen Thomas, who covered every president from Eisenhower to Obama, has died at age 92, according to The Gridiron Club & Foundation.
Gridiron Club's Carl Leubsdorf announced in an email: "Former Gridiron Club president Helen Thomas, our first female member, died Saturday morning at her Washington apartment after a long illness. She would have been 93 next month."  Read more.

Let the Light of Mandela Shine on U.S. Injustice

Amy Goodman @ Truthdig - As the world celebrates Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday, it is timely to reflect on his life, spent fighting for equality for people of color who long suffered under South Africa’s apartheid regime. Mandela was arrested in 1962, a year before Martin Luther King Jr. would give his “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C. After 27 years in prison, Mandela was released in 1990. Four years later, he would become the first democratically elected president of South Africa.  Read more.

Former Mobil VP Warns of Fracking and Climate Change

Ellen Cantarow @ Truthout - Few people can explain gas and oil drilling with as much authority as Louis W. Allstadt. As an executive vice president of Mobil Oil who ran the company's exploration and production operations in the western hemisphere before he retired in 2000. In 31 years with the company he also was in charge of its marketing and refining in Japan, and managed its worldwide supply, trading and transportation operations. Just before retiring, he oversaw Mobil's side of its merger with Exxon, creating the world's largest corporation.  Read more.

We Are Not Trayvon Martin: On Racism, Gun Laws and Otherness

KQED (San Francisco) - It is now widely known that George Zimmerman, a self-appointed volunteer neighborhood watchman in Sanford, Florida, shot and killed unarmed African American teen Trayvon Martin in February 2012. When police questioned Zimmerman immediately after the shooting he claimed self-defense, even though he pursued the boy against the advice of a 9-1-1 operator. Last Saturday a jury found Zimmerman not guilty of all charges stemming from the shooting and he left the courthouse innocent in the eyes of the law. The verdict induced strong reactions around the country, including an avalanche of discussion on social media, a number of protests, and, in Oakland, violent demonstrations that damaged downtown businesses. Much of the discussion has centered on systemic racism, how it impacts the lives of people of color, and villainizes youth victims.  Read more.

Ex-CIA Chief Wanted for Rendition of Muslim Cleric Detained in Panama

Lauren McCauley @ Common Dreams - Former CIA station chief Robert Seldon Lady was arrested Thursday in Panama, after surfacing in the Central American country years after being convicted by an Italian court for the abduction of a Muslim cleric in the first-of-its-kind ruling against the CIA practice of extraordinary rendition.  Read more.

Detroit goes bankrupt, largest municipal filing in U.S. history

Washington Post - Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation’s history Thursday, marking a new low in a long decline that has left the U.S. automaking capital bleeding residents and revenue while rendering city services a mess.

The city, which was the nation’s fourth-largest in the 1950s, with nearly 2 million inhabitants, has seen its population plummet...read more.

'You Are Being Tracked': License Plate Readers Capture Millions of Innocent Americans' Data

Jacob Chamberlain @ Common Dreams - Tens of millions of innocent Americans are being tracked by the police through vast license plate scanning systems, according to new documents obtained by the ACLU.
Location records of millions of civilians are logged and updated in roughly 300 police departments nationwide through "rapidly expanding" automatic license plate reader technologies, dispersed throughout cities and communities...read more.

Russian court convicts anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny

Washington Post - Russia’s most effective anti-corruption campaigner and opposition leader was found guilty of embezzlement Thursday and sentenced to five years in prison in a verdict that sent shock waves throughout the country.
The conviction of Alexei Navalny, 37, a leading critic of President Vladi­mir Putin with a penchant for exposés and cutting jibes, brought sharp criticism from those who believed it to be a politically driven case.  Read more.

Economy of the Squeegee: Carwasheros Organizing Across the Country

Amy B. Dean @ Truthout - In major urban centers, car washing is an industry that relies on full-time labor. Like many other low-wage jobs in the American service economy, the workers who perform this labor are mainly adults with families to support, and they are often recent immigrants. Once considered unorganizable, the "carwasheros" (as the carwash employees call themselves) are now standing up. They are demanding to be taken seriously as employees who shouldn't be expected to survive on a teenager's summer salary.  Read more.

‘America has no functioning democracy’ – Jimmy Carter on NSA

RT.com - Former US President Jimmy Carter lambasted US intelligence methods as undemocratic and described Edward Snowden’s NSA leak as “beneficial” for the country.
Carter lashed out at the US political system when the issue of the previously top-secret NSA surveillance program was touched upon at the Atlantic Bridge meeting on Tuesday in Atlanta, Georgia.  Read more.

Latin American experts slam "irony" of corporate new reports on Snowden's asylum

Latin American Experts @ Common Dreams - The supposed “irony” of whistle-blower Edward Snowden seeking asylum in countries such as Ecuador and Venezuela has become a media meme. Numerous articles, op-eds, reports and editorials in outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and MSNBC have hammered on this idea since the news first broke that Snowden was seeking asylum in Ecuador. It was a predictable retread of the same meme last year when Julian Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London and the Ecuadorian government deliberated his asylum request for months.  Read more.

Prometheus Among the Cannibals: A Letter to Edward Snowden

Rebecca Solnit @ TomDispatch - Billions of us, from prime ministers to hackers, are watching a live espionage movie in which you are the protagonist and perhaps the sacrifice. Your way forward is clear to no one, least of all, I’m sure, you.
I fear for you; I think of you with a heavy heart. I imagine hiding you like Anne Frank. I imagine Hollywood movie magic in which a young lookalike would swap places with you and let you flee to safety -- if there is any safety in this world of extreme rendition and extrajudicial execution by the government that you and I were born under and that you, until recently, served. I fear you may pay, if not with your death, with your life -- with a life that can have no conventional outcome anytime soon, if ever. “Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped,” you told us, and they are trying to stop you instead.  Read more.

CIA Funding Climate Manipulation Study

Lauren McCauley @ Common Dreams - The United States Central Intelligence Agency is pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into a new scientific research project to determine if manipulation of the Earth's environment is a viable means of preventing climate change.
The $630,000 geoengineering study is being spearheaded by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the "US Intelligence Community," according to the NAS website.  Read more.

The War on Terror is a war on American freedom

Anthony Gregory @ Daily Caller - In the aftermath of 9/11, President George W. Bush guided the Patriot Act through Congress, unilaterally expanded surveillance of Americans, amplified executive detention authority and took other dramatic measures that shifted the balance between liberty and government power significantly, in the name of national security.
After the initial Patriot Act was passed, many Democrats perceived the growing threat to civil liberties and started to have misgivings. Now, five years into the Obama presidency enthusiasm for these measures seems to be bipartisan.  Read more.

Police shot and kill Deon Williams, accused of driving stolen car but was not

NWA (Arkansas) - Police have released the names of the officers involved in the Monday morning shooting death of a suspect.

Officers Terry McDaniel, 25, and Grant Humphries, a five-year veteran of the LRPD are on paid administrative leave after the deadly use of force incident.

Police say McDaniel fired at Deon Williams...read more.

Zimmerman trial jurors distance themselves from Juror B37

CBS News - Four of the jurors at the George Zimmerman trial distanced themselves late Tuesday from statements that another juror made in a televised interview.
The four jurors issued a brief statement on court stationary saying that the opinions expressed by Juror B37 to CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday night are not representative of their views.  Read more.

The Whole System Failed Trayvon Martin

Charles M. Blow @ NY Times - In a way, the not-guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman for his killing of Trayvon Martin was more powerful than a guilty verdict could ever have been. It was the perfect wrenching coda to a story that illustrates just how utterly and completely our system of justice — both moral and legal — failed Martin and his family.  Read more.

Snowden seeks temporary asylum in Russia

Reuters - Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden applied for temporary asylum in Russia on Tuesday after three weeks holed up at a Moscow airport trying to avoid prosecution in the United States on espionage charges.
The White House said Snowden is "not a dissident" and should be expelled and returned to the United States to face trial.  Read more.

Attorney General Holder condemns ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws; vows new Voting Rights enforcement

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. strongly condemned “Stand Your Ground” laws here Tuesday in a speech to the NAACP that addressed the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin.
The laws “sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods,” Holder said, by “allowing – and perhaps encouraging – violent situations to escalate in public.”  Read more.

The Zimmerman Verdict; America Is Still America to Me

Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III @ Truthout - The jury has rendered its verdict. George Zimmerman was found by a jury of his peers to be "not guilty" of second degree murder.
We do not know how the jury came to its conclusion or why. What we do know is this: The "USAonWatch" manual that describes the code of conduct for neighborhood watch programs states: "It should be emphasized to members that they do not possess police powers and they shall not carry weapons or pursue vehicles . . . Members should never confront suspicious persons who could be armed and dangerous." George Zimmerman ignored that code of conduct.  Read more.

Hack this: Researchers turn Verizon device into ‘mobile spy station’

RT.com - Security experts said they have managed to spy on Verizon Wireless mobile phone customers by hacking into devices sold by the US carrier, further fueling the controversy over privacy issues in the wake of the NSA leaks.
Tom Ritter and Doug DePerry demonstrated for Reuters how it is technically possible to eavesdrop on text messages, photos and phone calls made with an Android phone and an iPhone by using compromised Verizon products.   Read more.

China's People Power Foils Nuclear Plans

Lauren McCauley @ Common Dreams - An upswell of people power has thwarted plans to build a multi-billion dollar nuclear park in southern China.
Authorities from the city of Heshan in the Guangdog province announced Saturday that they would scrap plans to build the Longwan Industrial Park uranium processing plant following a day of the mass mobilization of more than a thousand local residents.  Read more.

Oslo Freedom Forum: Using Human Rights for Right-Wing Politics

Joakim Mollersen @ Truthout - Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF) convened again this summer. For the fifth consecutive year, organizers brought together "hundreds of the world's most influential dissidents, innovators, journalists, philanthropists and policymakers" to discuss authoritarianism in their home countries. The founders call the event a "Davos of human rights."  Read more.

The Truth About Trayvon

Ekow N. Yankah @ NY Times - The Trayvon Martin verdict is frustrating, fracturing, angering and predictable. More than anything, for many of us, it is exhausting. Exhausting because nothing could bring back our lost child, exhausting because the verdict, which should have felt shocking, arrived with the inevitability that black Americans know too well when criminal law announces that they are worth less than other Americans.  Read more.

14 arrested after Zimmerman verdict protest in L.A. turns violent

LA Times - Los Angeles police arrested 14 people overnight for failing to disperse after hundreds of protesters splintered off a peaceful demonstration in the Crenshaw district and began stomping cars and breaking windows.
“It started off as a peaceful protest at Leimert Park,” said LAPD Officer Bruce Borihanh. “Unfortunately, a small group started disrupting it. It just got out of hand.”  Read more.

Putin: Snowden will leave Russia at earliest opportunity

RT.com - NSA-leaker Edward Snowden will leave Russia as soon as he gets such opportunity, but for now the situation is unclear, says Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"He is familiar with the conditions of granting political asylum, and judging by the latest statements, is shifting his position. The situation is not clear now," Putin said.  Read more.