police state

Surveillance of activists latest Chicago police scandal

Posted on April 14th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

ChicagoThis has been a very bad week for the Chicago Police Department. Among the headaches was a statement from the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois on "unsettling" reports of Chicago police monitoring peaceful protest groups, and is calling for City Council hearings on the claims. The statement came in response to a Chicago Sun-Times report finding that the department opened seven investigations since 2009 to monitor activist groups. E-mails released by the city under purblic pressure after the 2014 fatal police shooting of African American teen Laquan McDonald revealed that cops kept close tabs on protesters. Undercover officers were sent to monitor meetings of Black Lives Matter and other groups. (AP, April 10)

Alabama prison riot: more to come?

Posted on March 16th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

AlabamaGov. Robert Bentley visited Holman prison in southwest Alabama March 15—in the wake of a bloody uprising at the facility. Inmates stabbed the warden and a guard when the trouble began four days earlier, then seized control of a dorm for several hours the day before the governor's visit. A Correctional Emergency Response Team was sent in to restore control. Both the warden and guard survived, but the facility remains on lockdown, with visitation rights suspended. Bentley pledged to address problems of overcrowding at the state's prisons during his visit, reported local WHNT.

No federal charges in Ramarley Graham case

Posted on March 8th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

New York City The Manhattan US Attorney's office announced March 8 that it will not prosecute the NYPD officer who killed unarmed teen Ramarley Graham—almost four years to the day after he was slain by undercover officers who had chased him into his own apartment in The Bronx. No gun was found—just a small a bag of cannabis, which he was apparently trying to flush down the john. "After conducting a thorough and independent investigation, the US Attorney's Office has determined that there is insufficient evidence to meet the high burden of proof required for a federal criminal civil rights prosecution" of police officer Richard Haste, said a statement from Preet Bharara, federal prosecutor for New York's Southern District. "Accordingly, this office's investigation into Mr. Graham's death has been closed."

Right to film cops at issue in Philly federal case

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

Shadow WatchPhilly Voice reports that the Pennsylvania ACLU is planning to appeal following a decision last month by a federal court that a citizen has no First Amendment right to record police activity without a specific, critical reason for doing so. In the Feb. 19 decision, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled in Fields vs. City of Philadelphia that absent "any state purpose of being critical of the government," your freedom of speech is not applicable when recording the activities of police officers.

Arrested by US Marshals for not paying student debt?

Posted on February 17th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .

Shadow Watch"Believe it or not, the US Marshals Service in Houston is arresting people for not paying their outstanding federal student loans." That's the explosive claim of Fox26, the network's Houston affiliate, in a Feb. 15 broadcast that has quickly gone viral on the Internet. Interviewed is area resident Paul Aker, who said he was arrested at his home last week for a $1,500 federal student loan he received in 1987. A team of seven in "combat gear and with automatic weapons" appeared at his door. Related Aker: "I was home, I hadn't done anything, and I was wondering, why are the marshalls knocking on my door?" He was put in shackles and handcuffs, and taken before a federal judge. Also in the studio was Rep. Gene Green, who went along with Aker's story that he "didnt receive any kind of notice" before the raid.

Los Angeles ex-sheriff pleads guilty in prison abuse scandal

Posted on February 10th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

CaliforniaRetired Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca pleaded guilty Feb. 10 to lying to federal investigators, in what the LA Times calls a "stunning reversal for the longtime law enforcement leader who for years insisted he played no role in the misconduct that tarnished his agency." In the plea deal filed in federal court for the Central District of California, Baca admitted to lying twice about his involvement in hiding a jail inmate from FBI investigators. In fact, Baca ordered the inmate to be isolated, putting his top deputy Paul Tanaka in charge of executing the plan, the agreement acknowledged. Baca also admitted he lied when he said he was unaware that his subordinates planned to approach an FBI special agent at her home. Baca now admits he directed the subordinates to approach the agent, stating that they should "do everything but put handcuffs" on her.  As part of the deal, prosecutors agreed not to seek a prison sentence of more than six months, Eileen Decker, US attorney for the Central District, told reporters. Tanaka is scheduled to stand trial in March on charges of obstructing the federal investigation into brutality and corruption in the county jails.

Egypt: author faces prison for writing about hashish

Posted on December 16th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

Middle EastEgyptian activist attorney Nasser Amin is challenging a law that calls for writers to be imprisoned for words that violate the country's "morals." The challenge comes in the trial of novelist Ahmed Naji, who could face two years in prison and a fine of nearly $1,300 for his work The Use of Life—because of its explicit sex scene and numerous references to hashish use. Amin argues that the law violates the Egyptian constitution, which only permits such punishment for published materials that are defamatory or encourage violence or discrimination.

Cannabis capitalism: America's future?

Posted on December 9th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

weedThere have been quite a few histories of cannabis culture and politics, but Bruce Barcott's Weed The People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America is the first to examine the cannabis industry and its future prospects at a moment when it taking flight. His opening overview of how we got to this point is engaging if not always strictly accurate (he loans too much credence to the '70s paraquat scare). He notes the litany of US government reports back to the 1920s exculpating cannabis of the calumnies against it—all ignored by the very government that commissioned them. He details the bureaucratic obstacles that have been raised to research on cannabis' medical benefits. And he relates the passing of the torch (or, more literally, the joint) from the jazz scene to the beatniks to the hippies to the mainstream.

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