A court in the United States has confirmed the arrest of US-born Iranian Press TV news presenter Marzieh Hashemi as a material witness in an unspecified investigation.
Ms. Hashemi, 59, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on unspecified charges upon arrival at St. Louis Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, Missouri, on Sunday, her family and friends said.
At the request of the US Justice Department, Judge Beryl Alaine Howell, the chief district judge for the District of Columbia, issued a federal court order, approving the partial unsealing of the Press TV journalist’s case, Reuters reported.
According to the document, since her arrest, the journalist has appeared twice before a US district judge in Washington and has been appointed a lawyer.
The Associated Press said US government officials expected her to be released immediately after her testimony before a grand jury, but Ms. Hashemi’s elder son, Hossein, was pessimistic about prospects for her immediate release, saying it was not clear yet how long his mother’s testimony would last.
“We’re hoping that it would be complete and she would be out this week. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen,” said Hossein outside the court on Friday. “So we’re just waiting to hear more.”
However, the Friday court order did not include any details regarding the criminal case in which she has been named as a material witness.
The order said that Ms. Hashemi “has not been accused of any crime,” but she has said she was handcuffed and shackled and was treated like a criminal. The journalist has also said she had her hijab forcibly removed, and was photographed without her headscarf upon arrival at the prison.
South Carolina Herald
Exactly 49 years ago, Black Panthers Fred Hampton, 21, and Mark Clark, 22, were shot to death by Chicago police.
At around 5 a.m. on December 4, 1969, 14 police officers raided Hampton’s apartment, which was a known Illinois Black Panther Party stronghold in Chicago’s West Side, according to theChicago Tribune. The gunfire lasted seven minutes, and Hampton and Clark were shot dead while sleeping.
“Never forget that 49 years ago today the FBI & Chicago Police Dept conspired to murder Fred Hampton in his apartment because they were afraid he was creating a multiracial political coalition to challenge those in power,” Clint Smith wrote on Twitter today. “He was just 21 years old.”
At the time, authorities claimed that the Black Panthers opened fire on the police while they were serving a search warrant for weapons and have maintained that they were justified in the return fire, the Tribune reported. But evidence from the night, activists argue, showed that the FBI, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Chicago Police Department worked together to assassinate Hampton.
In the months that followed, a federal investigation showed that only one shot was fired by the Panthers. Police, on the other hand, fired 82 to 99 shots. Cook County State Attorney Edward Hanrahan was indicted for the raid but was cleared along with 13 other law enforcement agents, according to the Tribune.
The incident worsened an already contentious relationship between the Panthers and police, resulting in eight gun battles nationally within the following two years, which left three cops and five more Panthers dead.
Political correctness is the ideological superstructure of the left-wing of capital, and the technology, ideas, and information industries are its substructure/materialist base.
By Keith Preston
The Myth of the Open Society
One of the pervasive myths of our time is that we live in an open society where contentious issues, and serious questions of public policy, are supposedly addressed by means of Socratic dialogue, or open discourse reflecting the principles of Voltaire, Thomas Jefferson or John Stuart Mill. For reasons that I will explain, this claim of an open society is false. I could certainly discuss multiple ways in which the open society claim is problematic. For example, I could examine many parallel difficulties such as over criminalization, overregulation, increasingly greater centralization, and ever pervasive bureaucratization. However, for the purpose of this discussion, I want to focus on ideological conformity, and the way in which ideological conformity is enforced in liberal democratic societies.
By David E. Berstein
In the late 1960s, the ACLU was a small but powerful liberal organization devoted to a civil libertarian agenda composed primarily of devotion to freedom of speech, free exercise of religion, and the rights of accused criminals. In the early 1970s, the ACLU’s membership rose from around 70,000 to almost 300,000. Many new members were attracted by the organization’s opposition to the Vietnam War and its high-profile battles with President Nixon, but such members were not committed to the ACLU’s broader civil libertarian agenda. However, the organization’s defense of the KKK’s right to march in Skokie, Illinois, in the late 1970s weeded out some of these fair-weather supporters and attracted some new free speech devotees. But George H. W. Bush’s criticisms of the ACLU during the 1988 presidential campaign again attracted many liberal members not especially devoted to civil liberties.
This legislation is a very important step forward, though not nearly as bold as it needs to be. Although undoing the police state that has been built up over the past 50 years will certainly take time and require a great deal of comprehensive reform. Not exactly the fascism Trump was supposed to bring. Apparently, a ruling class consensus is developing that the prison-industrial complex has become too much of a cost liability (even if a few Know-Nothings are still dragging their feet).
By Seung Min Kim
President Trump threw his support Wednesday behind legislation that would loosen some mandatory minimum sentencing laws — a measure backed by powerful Senate Republicans and Democrats, but which could run into opposition from some tough-on-crime conservatives.
At an afternoon event at the White House, Trump officially endorsed the First Step Act, which he said included “reasonable sentencing reforms while keeping dangerous and violent criminals off our streets.” He urged lawmakers to send him a bill, saying: “I’ll be waiting with a pen.”
“Today’s announcement shows that true bipartisanship is possible,” Trump said. “This is a big breakthrough for a lot of people. . . . They’ve been talking about this for many, many years.”
The compromise criminal justice measure, which was hammered out in principle over the summer by a bipartisan group of senators, adds four provisions to a House-passed bill that focused on reducing prisoner recidivism.
I invite any system-lovers who may be reading to explain exactly how it is that we don’t live in a police state.
By Josh Barnabel
A team of New York City law-enforcement officers swarmed a Manhattan condominium last month, issuing 27 notices of violations for illegal hotel use in one of the largest crackdowns on short-term rentals such as those listed on Airbnb.
The raid at the Atelier, a 46-story Midtown luxury tower, may be a sign of what’s to come. New York and other cities are seeking to limit short-term rentals that can run afoul of local laws designed to limit hotel-style stays in residential buildings.
I’m inclined to say “I’ll believe it when I see it” but is this a case of the system actually working?
By Jennifer Gonnerman
The New Yorker
Krasner asked his young prosecutors, “Who here has read Michelle Alexander?”
Photograph by Jeff Brown for The New Yorker
Until Larry Krasner entered the race for District Attorney of Philadelphia last year, he had never prosecuted a case. He began his career as a public defender, and spent three decades as a defense attorney. In the legal world, there is an image, however cartoonish, of prosecutors as conservative and unsparing, and of defense attorneys as righteous and perpetually outraged. Krasner, who had a long ponytail until he was forty, seemed to fit the mold. As he and his colleagues engaged in daily combat with the D.A.’s office, they routinely complained about prosecutors who, they believed, withheld evidence that they were legally required to give to the defense; about police who lied under oath on the witness stand; and about the D.A. Lynne Abraham, a Democrat whose successful prosecutions, over nearly twenty years, sent more people to death row than those of any other D.A. in modern Philadelphia history.
The late American paleoconservative columnist Samuel T. Francis on the phenomenon of “anarcho-tyranny”, a useful term for describing much of the systematic legalist bullshit plaguing the West today, particularly the U.K. and mainland Europe.
By Samuel Francis
If, as Bill Clinton tells us, the “era of Big Government is over,” somebody needs to tell the state of Maryland (not to mention Bill Clinton). Earlier this month the Maryland legislature had itself a small orgy of swelling the powers of the state government, and apparently it helped give Mr. Clinton some ideas of his own (orgies seem to have that effect on him).
Just before the end of this year’s legislative session, the Maryland lawmakers passed several new laws that (a) allow policemen to stop drivers for not wearing seat belts, (b) authorize hidden cameras at red lights to take secret photographs of the license plates of cars that run the lights, (c) ban loud car stereos on state roads, (d) forbid minors from buying butane lighters because they might inhale the gas, and (e) require drivers whose windshield wipers are running to keep their headlights on. The lawmakers seem to have missed outlawing cooking breakfast in your underwear, but of course there’s always another session next year.
The citizens of Maryland will no doubt be thrilled to learn that law enforcement in their state has now so mastered violent crime that the cops have little else to do but round up non-seat-belt wearers and butane-sniffers. As a matter of fact, Maryland’s Prince George’s County has just announced that rapes and homicides increased in the first three months of 1997. Nevertheless, you can be certain that no one will be raped or murdered without wearing a seat belt.
The new Maryland laws are rather perfect instances of what I have previously called “anarcho-tyranny” – a form of government that seems to be unknown in history until recently. Anarcho-tyranny is a combination of the worst features of anarchy and tyranny at the same time.
Under anarchy, crime is permitted and criminals are not apprehended or punished. Under tyranny, innocent citizens are punished. Most societies in the past have succumbed to either one or the other, but never as far as I know to both at once.
By Tom Jacobs
New research finds it does reduce public support for law enforcement.
The militarization of America’s police has been hotly debated in recent years. Critics argue that effectively turning cops into soldiers risks alienating them from the communities they supposedly serve.
New research provides evidence supporting such warnings. It finds the use of SWAT teams—perhaps the most common and visible form of militarized policing—neither reduces crime nor enhances public safety.
It reports this aggressive approach to law enforcement is disproportionately used in minority communities. And finally, it finds portraying officers in military gear decreases public support for the police.
“Curtailing militarized police may be in the interest of both police and citizens,” concludes Jonathan Mummolo, an assistant professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton University. His study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
By Keith Preston
Everyone knows that one of the principal grievances of the right-wing involves the substantial amount of immigration from Latin America to the United States that has taken place in recent decades. The commonly voiced concern is that the traditional “white” (Northern European) majority will lose its majority status, and that persons of Latin American ancestry (combined with people of color generally) will become the demographic majority. Whether this is good or bad is an individual value judgment, but the criticisms often obscure other, perhaps more substantive ways in which the United States is coming to resemble Latin America.
The traditional class system of Latin America is one where the very rich plutocratic elites live in opulence and luxury, and rule over an impoverished working class, an extraordinarily large underclass of the extreme poor and permanently unemployed, and a small middle class of professionals and technocrats. This is precisely the same kind of class system that the United States is developing, particularly in California which is widely considered to be the bellwether of the nation.
In traditional Latin American societies, the elite rule for the sake of pursing their own class interests, without any pretense of interest in the needs of the masses. To the degree that elections are held at all, the candidates are merely functionaries of the plutocracy. US politics is rapidly coming to resemble this model.
The police and the army are the traditionally dominant force in Latin American societies, and there can be no reasonable doubt that the military industrial complex and police state have assumed a comparable role in the United States.
The one noticeable difference is that in many traditional Latin American societies, the Catholic Church hierarchy provided the ruling class with its self-legitimating ideology. In the United States, organized religion is becoming an increasingly marginal force with the new self-legitimating ideology of the state being the totalitarian humanist ideology of the new clerisy.
Interestingly, Latin America has experienced a great deal of liberalization and progress in the past few decades, while the United States has increasingly gone backward. Perhaps Americans need to start emigrating to Latin America.
These are the things our anarchist and libertarian friends ought to focused on.
By John Whitehead
“Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government, owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.” ― Theodore Roosevelt
There are those who would have you believe that President Trump is an unwitting victim of the Deep State.
And then there are those who insist that the Deep State is a figment of a conspiratorial mind.
Don’t believe it.
The Deep State—a.k.a. the police state, a.k.a. the military industrial complex, a.k.a. the surveillance state complex—does indeed exist and Trump, far from being its sworn enemy, is its latest tool.
When in doubt, follow the money trail.
It always points the way.
Every successive president starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt has been bought—lock, stock and barrel—and made to dance to the tune of the Deep State.
Even Dwight D. Eisenhower, the retired five-star Army general-turned-president who warned against the disastrous rise of misplaced power by the military industrial complex was complicit in contributing to the build-up of the military’s role in dictating national and international policy.
Enter Donald Trump, the candidate who swore to drain the swamp in Washington DC.
Instead of putting an end to the corruption, however, Trump has paved the way for lobbyists, corporations, the military industrial complex, and the rest of the Deep State (also referred to as “The 7th Floor Group”) to feast on the carcass of the dying American republic.
By Ilya Somin
The Trump administration recently adopted a “zero tolerance” policy under which undocumented immigrants apprehended by federal officials are forcibly separated from their children. In April and May alone, almost 2000 children were torn from their parents and detained separately, often under cruel conditions likely to cause trauma and inflict longterm developmental damage. Attorney General Jeff Sessions claims that separation of families is justified by the need to enforce the law, and even asserts that the administration’s policy is supported by the Bible. I will leave the Biblical issues to theologians and cardinals, who have addressed them far better than I could. But Sessions’ secular argument is no better than his religious one. There is no law requiring family separation at the border. And even if there was, that still would not be enough to justify the administration’s cruel policy.
The federal law criminalizing “improper entry” by aliens does not require family separation. The law also provides for the use of civil penalties, as well as criminal ones. While it states that the application of civil penalties does not preclude application of criminal ones, it also does not compel federal prosecutors to pursue both. Until the administration’s recent policy change, civil proceedings were in fact the usual approach in case of families with minor children, under both Democratic and Republican administrations. The use of civil proceedings generally does not require pretrial detention, and therefore obviates the need to detain either parents or children; some civil defendants were detained, nonetheless, but in facilities where families can stay together. The Trump administration, by contrast, has sometimes even forcibly separated children from migrants who have not violated any law, but instead have legally crossed the border to petition for asylum in the United States.
By Andrew Doyle
f you want to know why the left keeps losing, look no further than the fallout from last Sunday’s ‘Day for Freedom’ march in London. The event was publicised as a protest against the ongoing erosion of free speech in the UK, most notably through the increasingly draconian application of hate-speech laws. The man behind the march was Tommy Robinson, former leader of the EDL, who took umbrage at being permanently banned from Twitter for his incendiary remarks about Islam. Before long, a number of prominent right-wing activists offered their support, and even without mainstream media coverage the attendance figures were in the thousands.
How is it that the principle of free speech, the bedrock of any democratic society, has been claimed by the right? Inevitably, right-wing media outlets such as Breitbart have declared the ‘Day for Freedom’ to be their victory. To an extent, they have a point. In recent years, the left has not only failed to defend freedom of expression, but has been actively hostile to it. Moreover, prominent left-wing voices have continually sought to broaden the scope of terms such as ‘far right’ and ‘alt-right’ to incorporate as many of their ideological opponents as possible. I can think of no strategy less likely to persuade and more likely to engender widespread resentment.
The ‘day for freedom’ saw thousands demonstrate on Whitehall in London in favour of freedom of speech. Led by Tommy Robinson, it was supported by UKIP, For Britian, Count Dankula and Sargon of Akkad.
A first person account of Sunday’s rally in London.
On May 6th, what was purported to be the biggest free speech event the UK has ever seen (a “free speech Woodstock”) took place outside of Whitehall. Far left activists and the mainstream media have labelled the demonstration as “fascist” and “far right” respectively, while alt-right white nationalist figures like Millennial Woes and Richard Spencer have disavowed the event as being “demoralising” and overly-liberal for being too inclusive of non-whites, homosexuals, “freaks” and “trannies.” But how was the view from inside?
The event was triggered by a collision of illiberal decisions made by the British state, especially over the last year. Non-violent right-wing speakers banned from the country on the ludicrous grounds of “anti-terrorism,” a legal crackdown on “offensive” jokes, extremely inconsistent application of “hate speech laws” (that, according to many people associated with the event, is disproportionately invoked to defend Islam from vilification) and what is perceived as a willful ignorance of pressing problems concerning crime, censorship, media bias, immigration and Islam (the last of which was especially prevalent, which we shall return to in due course) by the government and establishment media.
Tom Woods interviews Professor William Anderson joins to discuss the perverse incentives in the American legal system that work against the accused and their ability to fight back against abuses and outrages perpetrated against them.
The state always needs a moral panic to justify the expansion of its own power. Gay rights are now mainstream, marijuana legalization is moving rapidly, sanctuary cities are resisting immigration enforcement, skepticism of the drug war is growing, support for criminal justice reform is expanding, and protests against police brutality are now common. In other words, the state is losing many of its tools for self-expansion. This is one reason why political correctness is increasingly becoming incorporated into the state’s ideological framework, and why we are likely to see “traditional” cultural groups (i.e. gun owners, religious traditionalists, conservative whites, etc). becoming increasingly under attack in the future. However, the Red Tribe continues to be a major player in US politics, and currently controls all three branches of the federal government, plus a majority of state governments, even if the Red Tribe is losing ground and does not reflect majority opinion per se. Therefore, the state needs yet another target. Just in the nick of time, here comes hysteria over sex trafficking. Sex trafficking hysteria is becoming the new war on drugs, with the predictable bipartisan enthusiasm in the mainstream, and acquiescence on the part of much of the Left, as there was with the war on drugs. In the future, there will be a sex workers rights movement similar to the gay rights and marijuana legalization movements.
Elizabeth Nolan Brown
This would seem to go against the general trend toward marijuana legalization, skepticism of the “war on drugs” and support for “criminal justice reform” generally. It’s also interesting how after 50 years of the “war on drugs,” there are now more drugs, more powerful drugs, and more drug overdoses than ever before. In the future, the Trump era will probably be regarded as Reagan-era “conservatism”‘s last stand.
By Matt Laslo
Don’t let all the chaos and scandals of the Trump administration distract you from one of their most stunning successes: They’ve utterly changed the conversation in Washington when it comes to drug crimes. While a few prominent voices on Capitol Hill continue to call for doing away with mandatory minimum prison sentences, there’s a new bill being pushed by top Trump allies inside the Capitol to actually extend mandatory minimums to more fentanyl dealers and to eventually even apply the death penalty in some cases.
“It’s not just that it’s so potent, but it’s also that it’s so concentrated. So, it poses a unique risk in the way that other drugs do not,” Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) told reporters when he unveiled his bill at the Capitol.
It is interesting how the state always seeks to capitalize on whatever moral panics are going on at the present time. The biggest moral panics at present are arguably illegal immigration (for the Red Tribe), guns (for the Blue Tribe), opioids and “sex trafficking” (for both tribes). Immigrants are generally included under the umbrella of the Blue Tribe, and gun owners under the umbrella of the Red Tribe, and therefore have certain shields available. But drug users (except pot heads) and sex workers are not included in either tribe and therefore among the most easy targets for the state.
By Sarah N. Lynch, Lisa Lambert
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. law enforcement agencies have seized the sex marketplace website Backpage.com as part of an enforcement action by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to a posting on the Backpage website on Friday.
I suspect Trump and Sessions’ latest efforts to throw a bone to their redneck “base” will likely fail, and potentially backfire given that the general trend is toward liberalization of both drug and criminal justice police.
By Matt Ford
The New Republic
In a speech Monday in Manchester, New Hampshire, President Donald Trump enthusiastically backed capital punishment as a tool to fight the opioid epidemic. “If we don’t get tough on the drug dealers, we are wasting our time,” he said. “And that toughness includes the death penalty.” Now, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is trying to put Trump’s call into practice.
In one-page memo dated Tuesday, Sessions instructed U.S. attorneys nationwide to be more aggressive when prosecuting any drug-related crimes. In addition to the usual tools available to federal prosecutors, he urged them to consider “the pursuit of capital punishment in appropriate cases.” To that end, he noted a few specific federal offenses where Congress already authorized the death penalty as a punishment.
“I strongly encourage federal prosecutors to use these statutes, when appropriate, to aid in our continuing fight against drug trafficking and the destruction it causes,” Sessions wrote.