Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts tagged Civil Rights

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Despite the fact that everyone in On The Media’s producer Sarah Abdurrahman’s family were all US citizens and that once citizenship is established you are supposed to be free to enter the country, they were detained for six hours by US Customs and Border Patrol.

From Techdirt:

They were treated terribly, put in a cold room with no food or drinks, and no information on what was going on. CBP demanded they hand over their electronics, and made it clear they might not get them back. The thing is, this isn’t a unique situation. As the report notes, there’s almost no oversight over CBP actions, allowing them to act with impunity. In the report, the story is told of a 4-year-old girl, an American citizen, who was detained for 14 hours, in a cold room, without being allowed to speak to her parents and given no food beyond a cookie. And then she was deported. Even though she was a US citizen. She was allowed to come back weeks later, but now has symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

She tried to find out information during the detainment, but was repeatedly told “it’s not your right to know.” She wasn’t even allowed to know the names of the CBP agents who detained them. When she asked, agents turned their backs to her so she couldn’t see their name tags. Multiple attempts at getting Homeland Security or CBP to respond to questions failed.

She also tells the story of some other wedding attendees who were similarly detained with incredibly obnoxious behavior from CBP agents. The first one they met was quizzing everyone in the car on their names, and the 3-year-old kid in the back cheerily volunteered his name and the CBP agent snapped at him. The agents initially promised that they wouldn’t search their phones, but then demanded that people unlock their phones, and even told them the phones would be confiscated and not returned. People complained that they needed their phones for work and were basically told too bad. Abdurrahman notes that three full cars of people from that one wedding all had their phones confiscated, and she notes that DHS claims only about 15 phones are confiscated each day by CBP, and wonders why everyone from one wedding appear to have nearly reached that quota.

Then there’s the really ridiculous part: one of the people detained went through mutliple invasive body searches, and then after five and half hours was suddenly handcuffed and locked up in a jail cell with no explanation at all. He asked the officers to let his family know what was going on, but they didn’t. Instead, they told his family to leave, and when they asked what happened, his family was told that “an agency” was coming to “pick him up,” without giving any more details — obviously leading to the worst assumptions. Instead, it turned out the guy had an unpaid ticket for a crooked license plate from 2006. CBP called the Michigan State Police to come “get him” over this — and, again, didn’t explain any of this to his family.

While a person can submit a complaint, there is little that will be done to resolve the situation. CBP claims broad authority and operates unto itself, above the law, terrorizing its own citizens.

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From KHOU:

Harris County investigators said Deputy Jimmy Drummond was caught on dash cam video brutalizing a family.

Drummond followed the son home because he said he was speeding. As other family members approached the scene, they were all beaten.
The son’s ribs were broken and his father’s face was bruised. The mother was dragged.

Deputy Drummond was charged with official oppression and is due in court on Friday.

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Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd was indicted on 31 criminal charges last week on charges that include fraud, extortion, embezzlement, witness tampering and perjury. Byrd is accused of using his position as sheriff to retaliate against anyone he felt opposed him.

One of the charges said Byrd pressured a detective to sign a criminal affidavit and seek an arrest warrant against a man in a murder investigation in 2007 when the detective did not believe the man committed the crime. The indictment said Byrd was running for re-election at the time and wanted to be able to say there were no unsolved murders in the coastal Mississippi county of about 140,000 people.

An extortion charge in the indictment said Byrd pressured a female deputy to engage in sexual acts and threatened to give her a bad recommendation if she left his department.

Another of the charges said Byrd ordered the surveillance of Ocean Springs Police Chief Keith Davis in retaliation for Davis “embarrassing” Byrd by disclosing a July 2012 shooting involving narcotics task force agents. The shooting involved two agents, with one accused of shooting toward the feet of another in the task force headquarters. Byrd also is charged with hindering prosecution by ordering that evidence in the case be concealed.

Another count in the 15-page indictment said Byrd sent narcotics agents to perform surveillance on employees of a Mexican restaurant because the eatery had refused to accept a check from him. He’s also accused of sending officers to watch a man who objected to the location of a hotel in Ocean Springs and using the power of his office in refusing to pay for repairs to his lawn mower.

Some of the counts are related to testimony in a case involving former Ocean Springs Alderman James Hagan, who was charged with child exploitation related to an alleged image on his city laptop. The district attorney’s office later declined to prosecute the case.

This implies that Byrd was willing to make an innocent man look as if he was a pedophile, solely for some perceived wrong.

Some of the fraud charges are related to the money it cost for the agents to conduct what the grand jury considered illegitimate surveillance ordered by Byrd.

Embezzlement charges accuse him of sending department employees to solicit money for at work at events like bass tournaments and paying them with Jackson County funds.

Download (PDF, 613KB)

Byrd is currently out on bond, awaiting his court date. Byrd faces numerous years in prison if convicted.

To fully understand what Byrd is facing, The Sun Herald has a complete breakdown of the charges.

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From Foreign Policy:

John Beieler, a doctoral candidate at Penn State, has adapted these data into striking maps, like the one above of every protest recorded in GDELT — a breathtaking visual history lesson. Some events to watch for as you scroll through the timeline:

  • Strikes and protests in response to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s economic reforms.
  • Poland lighting up through the 1980s while Cold War-era Eastern Europe stays dark.
  • The escalation of apartheid protests in South Africa in the late 1980s.
  • The fall of the Berlin Wall and the rise of protests in Eastern Europe preceding the end of the Soviet Union.
  • Protests in Iraq coinciding with Operation Desert Storm in early 1991.
  • The explosion of protests in the United States since 2008 — think Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party movements.
  • Iran’s Green Movement protests after the presidential election in 2009.
  • The Arab Spring, with protests stretching across North Africa and the Middle East starting in 2011.
  • The persistence of protests in perennial hotspots like Kashmir, Tibet, and Israel and the West Bank.

It’s worth seeing the original map instead of the one on YouTube because you can zoom in to specific areas.

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