police state

Cannabis cultivation decriminalized in Spain?

Posted on July 3rd, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

SpainThe new "Citizen Safety Law" that took effect in Spain on July 1 is notoriously draconian, making it illegal to march on public buildings, and imposing prohibitive fines for holding any protest without a permit. It also raises the minimum penalty for public cannabis use or possession from 300 to 600 euros, with the maximum penalty set at a whopping 30,000 euros for "grave infractions." But even this is something of a victory, as conservatives had been pressing to raise the minimum to 1,000 euros. And there may be a more surprising bright side. According to reports on the Medical Cannabis Spain Blog and LaMarihuana.com, language was added to the section of the law dealing with cultivation, saying that it will only be punishable when it is "in visible public places." The reports state that this means cultivation behind closed doors is effectively decriminalized in Spain, as private possession has been for several years.

A drone by any other name...

Posted on May 15th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

Shadow WatchRevolution News notes that the Illinois State Police have been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration to use drones—but are refusing to actually call them drones. In a statement released to Sun-Times Media Wire, the state police department admitted that it is intentionally avoiding the word "drone" because "it carries the perception of pre-programmed or automatic flight patterns and random, indiscriminate collection of images and information." The force will add "unmanned aircraft" to its list of tools for the next two years. The state police said they worked with legal professionals and the American Civil Liberties Union to minimize the privacy impact on average citizens, and needed the drones primarily for "investigation of major traffic crashes."

#BlackLivesMatter and the cannabis stigma

Posted on May 4th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

BlackLivesMatterHere we go again. As with Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, conservative pundits are now exploiting the cannabis stigma to tarnish the reputation of Freddie Gray, the young African American man whose death at the hands of the Baltimore police last month led to an uprising in the city, a new national wave of #BlackLivesMatter protests, and finally charges against six officers. Daily Caller gloats in a headline: "Freddie Gray Had A Long Rap Sheet"... But take a look at the provided list of charges: "Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance... Possession of narcotics with intent to distribute... Possession of marijuana... Distribution of narcotics, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance..." Yeah, burglary and assault are on the list as well. But Snopes, examining the veracity of the claim, quotes the Associated Press: "Court records indicate that Gray's arrests were mostly for drug possession/distribution charges and various minor crimes, many of which were not prosecuted."

Chicago to pay in police torture scandal

Posted on April 15th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

The city of Chicago on April 14 proposed a $5.5 million reparations fund for dozens of torture victims connected to former police Commander Jon Burge and his so-called "midnight crew of rogue detectives," the Chicago Tribune reports. The proposal, negotiated with a plaintiff's attorney and supported by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, would offer free city college tuition for victims and their families, free psychological counseling, and other such assistance to more than 50 potential victims. The city would also issue a formal apology, create a permanent memorial recognizing the victims and ensure that the new generation of students in Chicago public schools is taught about the Burge case. Other inmates who assert their confessions were extracted through torture continue to fight to overturn convictions and win their freedom. The scandal has already cost tax-payers some $100 million in lawsuit settlements, judgments and other legal costs.

Spain: holograms protest anti-protest law

Posted on April 14th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

SpainActivists in Spain staged a creative protest against the country's new "Citizen Safety Law" on April 10—projecting holograms of themselves that marched on the parliament building in Madrid. This was making the point that under the law, actual flesh-and-blood marches on government buildings would be banned—along with filming the police, failing to obey police orders, burning the national flag, or holding any protest without a permit. The ghostly hologram march was a joint effort by the groups No Somos Delito (We Are Not a Crime, the coalition that's come together to oppose the new "gag law") and the tech-savvy Hologramas por la Libertad (Holograms for Freedom). People worldwide were invited to record videos of themselves marching and holding signs, that were converted into holograms. The stunt was avidly covered both by lefty activist websites like Revolution News and techie-geek sites like Engadget. "Our protest with holograms is ironic," organizer Carlos Escano told the Spanish press, according to CNN. "With the restrictions we're suffering on our freedoms of association and peaceful assembly, the last option that will be left to us in the end will be to protest through our holograms." 

Chicago cops run 'black site'?

Posted on February 25th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

ChicagoChicago is abuzz with explosive claims in The Guardian Feb. 24 that police in the Windy City operate a CIA-style "black site" where arrestees are held incommunicado, subject to harsh interrogations without being formally booked—and therefore with no paper trail, and no means for attorneys or kin to determine their whereabouts. The facility, in a nondescript West Side warehouse known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of "secretive work by special police units," The Guardian writes, where beatings and abuse can be carried out with impunity. Detainees are held there up to 24 hours before being sent to a precinct to be formally processed. Kids as young as 15 have been held at Honan Square, and at least one man was found unresponsive in an "interview room" at the facility and later pronounced dead, according to a February 2013 Chicago Tribune story cited by The Guardian.

Texas prison riot points to privatization problems

Posted on February 22nd, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

TexasThe town of Raymondville, Tex., got a shock over the weekend as the local Willacy County Correctional Center exploded into an uprising by prisoners upset over conditions and poor medical services at the facility. The inmates set fire to several kevlar domes or tents that serve as housing for the 2,800 prisoners at the facility, rendering the prison "uninhabitable." The federal Bureau of Prisons and FBI as well as Texas Rangers and highway patrol were called in to evacuate the inmates to other facilities and negotiate with those who refused to move. Raymondville's residents were advised to stay indoors during the stand-off, and a local school was put on "soft lockdown." The Correctional Center, which mostly holds undocumented immigrants, is run by the private Management & Training Corp.  

Police 'anti-crime' extermination campaign in Congo

Posted on December 5th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

AfricaThe decades-long civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo shows signs of winding down, but is apparently leaving in its wake a good old "anti-crime" police state that sees impoverished youth as a threat and seeks to exterminate them. Human Rights Watch reported last month that police in the DRC summarily killed at least 51 youth and "forcibly disappeared" 33 others during an anti-crime campaign that began a year ago. "Operation Likofi," which lasted from November 2013 to February 2014, was officially a crackdown on criminal gangs in Congo's capital, Kinshasa. HRW's report, "Operation Likofi: Police Killings and Enforced Disappearances in Kinshasa," details how uniformed police, often wearing masks, dragged suspected gang members—known as kuluna—from their homes at night and executed them. Police shot and killed the unarmed young men and boys outside their homes, in open markets where they slept or worked, or in nearby fields or empty lots. Many others were taken without warrants to unknown locations, never to be seen again.

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