Baltimore imbroglio over secret aerial surveillance

Posted on September 5th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Shadow WatchOfficials and civil rights advocates in Baltimore are expressing outrage over revelations that a private company has been conducting secret aerial surveillance on behalf of the city's police department—collecting and storing footage from neighborhoods, with no public oversight. Ohio-based Persistent Surveillance Systems has for months been testing sophisticated new cameras afixed to a small Cessna flying over the city, according to an Aug. 23 report in Bloomberg Businessweek, which was given exclusive access to the testing program. Police the following day confirmed the program to the Baltimore Sun, admitting to having collected some 300 hours of surveillance this year.

Iran: outrage over mass execution of drug convicts

Posted on September 1st, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Middle EastInternational outrage over the mounting wave of executions in Iran reached another milestone Aug, 27, when 12 drug convicts were hanged at Karaj Central Prison outside Tehran. Days earlier, when the 12 were transferred to solitary confinement at the Karaj facility in preperation for the executions, the United Nations issued an urgent plea. UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, called on the Islamic Republic to stay the executions immediately. After they were carried out, Shaheed's response was harsh.

Deadly underside of Rio Olympics

Posted on September 1st, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

BrazilWith the Rio de Janeiro Olympics over, the world media are moving on—but the city's poor favela dwellers are left to contend with a wave of murderous police terror. This was launched a year ago as part of an effort to pacify and sanitize the sprawling megalopolis for the Games. Amnesty International reports that over 100 people have been killed by police in Rio de Janeiro state so far this year—the big majority young Black men. A total of 307 were killed by police in the state in 2015. At least eight people in Rio were actually killed by police during the Games—to little media coverage. The clean-up operation was, of course, disguised as a crackdown on drugs and crime. The inevitable rationale was provided by the narco economy in the favelas—informal urban settlements virtually abandoned by the government for anything other than militarized law enforcement.

Justice Department to end use of private prisons

Posted on August 19th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

prisonThe US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced plans Aug. 18 to phase out its use of private prisons. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates issued the decision in a memo instructing officials to either decline to renew contracts for private prison operators or to "substantially reduce" the contracts' scope. The goal, Yates stated, is "reducing—and ultimately ending—our use of privately operated prisons. They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department's Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security."

'Voluntary' drug testing comes to New Jersey school district

Posted on August 19th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

Shadow WatchFrom New Jersey comes the unwelcome news that the Lacey Township Board of Education has voted to approve a program of "voluntary" random drug-testing for middle school students. "I'm a supporter for any intervention to give another reason for kids to say 'no' and that can start at any age, especially with our young teens," district superintendent Craig Wigley told NJ Advance Media after the Aug. 15 vote. Seventh and eighth graders who participate in athletic programs or extracurricular programs will be given the "option" to participate in the testing program, with parental consent. For a first violation, a student would be barred from sports or extracurricular activities for 10 days. With a second violation, it goes up to 45-days, with mandatory attendance of eight counseling sessions. A third strike, of course, means you're out—barred from sports and extracurricular programs permanently. The district already has a similar program in place for high school students.

Mexico: El Chapo son abducted by cartel rivals

Posted on August 17th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

ChapoThe Mexican state of Jalisco is bracing for a feared explosion of violencie after the son of the country's top drug lord was kidnapped by rivals. Jesús Alfredo Guzmán Salazar was seized by gunmen along with some 10 of his minions as they dined at an upscale restaurant in the resort town of Puerta Vallarta on Aug. 15. Guzmán Salazar is the son of Joaquín "Chapo" Guzmán, imprisoned kingpin of the Sinaloa Cartel. Jalisco authorities believe the kidnapping was perpetrated by the state's reigning criminal machine, Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), which has been resisting an incursion by the Sinaloa competition.

Mexico: mothers unearth clandestine burial sites

Posted on August 15th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

MexicoA group of mothers in the Mexican state of Veracruz who came together to search for missing loved ones announced Aug. 14 that they had disovered a total of 28 clandestine graves with remains of some 40 bodies. The women banded together under the name Colectivo Solecito to search for their kin after growing tired of waiting for authorities to do so. They said they found the graves since Aug. 1 in an area north of the port of Veracruz. The group's Lucia de los Angeles Diaz Genao called the area "a great cemetery of crime" that is used "like a camp to kill people who have been kidnapped." The discovered remains have been exhumed and delivered to police for forensic analysis.

DEA turns down bid to reschedule cannabis

Posted on August 13th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

THC After much speculation that the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) would reschedule cannabis this summer, the agency on Aug. 11 dashed petitioners' hopes, rejecting their request to remove its classification as a Schedule I dangerous drug. The DEA denied two separate requests by former state governors to re-classify cannabis as a Schedule II drug or lower. The agency stated (PDF) that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has "concluded that marijuana has high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use in the United States, and lacks an acceptable level of safety for use even under medical supervision." Tthe DEA did propose a new policy that would allow universities to apply to grow cannabis for research. Until now, the University of Mississippi had a monopoly on cultivation for study. (Jurist)

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