July 14, 2017

Chinese pro-democracy activist Liu Xiaobo dies of cancer in government custody, little public effort by western governments on his behalf. “Mr. Liu’s fate reflects how human rights issues have receded in Western diplomacy with China.”  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/13/world/asia/liu-xiaobo-china-human-rights.html   White House spokesman says Trump “deeply saddened” by Liu’s death. “The White House statement does not offer any criticism of China or of Liu’s case.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/the-latest-trump-saddened-by-political-prisoners-death/2017/07/13/199fd1f2-682c-11e7-94ab-5b1f0ff459df_story.html

FBI director nominee denies any knowledge of Bush administration’s legal defense of “enhanced interrogation” program. “Wray told Leahy that waterboarding was torture and thus illegal, but purported to having no memory of having approved, or even read, any of John Yoo’s infamous torture memos.”   https://rightsanddissent.org/news/learned-wrays-confirmation-hearing/

Michigan mayor reportedly shared Facebook post calling for genocide against Muslims, use of nuclear weapons on majority Muslim cities. “Sieting said his comments are protected by the First Amendment and that those trying to oust him from office are only doing so because they oppose President Donald Trump.”   http://www.fox2detroit.com/news/local-news/267447842-story

Trump’s Russia investigation lawyer flips out, threatens  man who urged him to resign. “I already know where you live, I’m on you… You will see me, I promise.”   https://www.propublica.org/article/marc-kasowitz-trump-lawyer-threat-emails-maddow

Feds announce round-up of some of big pharma’s foot soldiers. “At the end of the press conference, Sessions and Price discussed their strategies to address the country’s drug-addiction epidemic, which is heavily fueled by increased levels of opioid prescriptions.”   http://www.cbsnews.com/news/sessions-announces-largest-health-care-fraud-take-down-in-us-history/

Justice Department releases section of Sessions’ security clearance questionnaire where he denied any contacts with any foreign government officials, in response to FOIA lawsuit. “Sessions’ aides confirmed in May that he had not listed two meetings with the Russians or hundreds of other meetings with foreign officials…”   http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2017/07/13/jeff-session-doj-questionnaire-240501

Appeals court throws out New York political corruption conviction on procedural grounds. “A federal appeals court on Thursday overturned the conviction of former New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, citing a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision narrowing what kind of conduct can support corruption prosecutions.”   http://www.businessinsider.com/r-former-new-york-assembly-speaker-silvers-conviction-is-overturned-2017-7

Video appears to show Iraqi troops throwing IS prisoners off a ledge, shooting them. “In the video, the panicking man is taunted and beaten by several rifle-wielding troops before being slowly forced up to a precipice and hurled onto the motionless body of another man below.”   http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4693330/Video-ISIS-militants-thrown-deaths-shot.html

Republican operative who was in contact with Russian hackers in an effort to obtain Hillary Clinton’s private server emails reportedly committed suicide. “(Peter) Smith told the (Wall Street) Journal he believed the missing emails might have had been obtained by Russian hackers (and that)…. he and his team found five groups of hackers — two of them Russian groups — who claimed to have Clinton’s missing emails.”   http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-peter-smith-death-met-0713-20170713-story.html

Texas oil pipeline spills more than 50,000 gallons, local residents evacuated. “In a statement, Magellan Midstream Partners, the owner of the Longhorn pipeline, said a contractor was conducting maintenance on the system when it ruptured.”   http://www.khou.com/news/shelter-in-place-in-bastrop-after-3k-gallons-crude-oil-spill/456426481

Philip Morris accused of campaign to undermine anti-smoking efforts. “Reuters has found that Philip Morris International is running a secretive campaign to block or weaken treaty provisions that save millions of lives by curbing tobacco use.”   https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/pmi-who-fctc/

At least 200 people trying to protect the environment were killed world-wide in 2016, group says this is probably “the tip of the iceberg”. “Countries with pro-business governments are where murders of protestors were most common.”   http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/07/environmentalists-protestors-killed-violence-global-witness-report/

75% of Americans say they feel powerless. “…a new (Associated Press) poll released Thursday shows that three-quarters of Americans feel voiceless and largely powerless in the nation that heralds itself as the world’s preeminent democracy.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/07/13/can-you-say-oligarchy-75-americans-think-wealthiest-have-too-much-power

Details of secret testing of chemical and biological agents on U.S. troops to be kept secret. “Thompson was seeking answers about Projects 112 and SHAD (Shipboard Hazard and Defense) a series of covert chemical and biological weapons tests the Pentagon conducted in the 1960s and 1970s, the Vietnam War era, involving some 6,000 military personnel.”   http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article161236708.html

Billions could be saved if Pentagon officials took their agency’s own expert advice. “The Defense Department’s failure to act or delayed response on the recommendations of its own internal watchdog may result in lost savings of at least $33.6 billion, the Pentagon’s Inspector General’s office said Thursday.”   http://www.military.com/daily-news/2017/07/13/failure-act-watchdog-recommendations-cost-dod-billions-ig.html

No federal charges for police officer who immediately shot Walmart customer John Crawford because he was holding a Walmart air rifle. “It’s almost like these guys are getting away with murder.”   http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/federal-authorities-end-probe-wal-mart-police-shooting-48576031

San Antonio family claims police used excessive force during arrest, pointed gun at head of 10 year-old boy. “Mendoza said that Lopez was left with a broken cheekbone, two broken arms and at risk of losing an eye. She said the police ransacked her home and that they shot and killed her dog, which was tied up in the backyard.”   https://www.sacurrent.com/the-daily/archives/2017/07/13/family-accuses-sapd-of-excessive-force-threatening-10-year-old-boy

San Diego police use K-9 to take down unarmed black suspect and maul him after he’s handcuffed. “For at least 30 seconds, the German shepherd clamps down on the shirtless man’s arm as he screams in pain.”   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/police-dog-handcuffed-man_us_59676d80e4b0a0c6f1e63dc6

ACLU and news organization sue for public records information on Salisbury, Maryland excessive force settlement. “The case at the heart of the litigation is Adams v. Aita, one of four lawsuits against former Salisbury police officer Justin Aita, who resigned in 2015.”   http://www.delmarvanow.com/story/news/local/maryland/2017/07/12/aclu-lawsuit-police-salisbury/455862001/

Former Atlanta police officer who broke man’s leg with baton during beating at Walmart goes on trial, suspected him of stealing a tomato. “King’s attorneys plan to prove his actions were necessary to make an arrest.”   http://www.cbs46.com/story/35862304/former-police-officer-on-trial-accused-of-using-excessive-force   Video here:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7HM2WKaJXE

ACLU sues Columbus, Ohio police for clearing protesters using pepper spray. “Columbus has a practice of overreacting to peaceful demonstrators and using excessive force.”   http://radio.wosu.org/post/ohio-aclu-sues-columbus-police-excessive-force-against-protestors

Brutal Santa Ana police arrest caught on video. “The Santa Ana Police Department confirmed that the arresting officers used force after an officer attempted to stop a vehicle for traffic violations.”   http://abc7.com/news/santa-ana-police-investigating-after-video-shows-rough-arrest/2203076/   Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaZpPDZvxD0

Racine, Wisconsin agrees to $400,000 settlement in police beating of 14 year-old high school student on school grounds. “The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court on Nov. 22, 2016, alleges that Officer Brinelle Nabors threw the student to the ground, punched him and slammed him against lockers, while another officer, Jerome King, failed to intervene.”   http://journaltimes.com/news/local/city-settles-excessive-force-complaint-for/article_ec80e7d4-446a-53d6-a699-a446c3802399.html

Orange County, California settles excessive force lawsuit for an unspecified amount. The arrest, for attempting to walk away during questioning, “…caused (Thomas) to sustain an open wound to his head, a black eye and the loss of several teeth.”   http://www.ocregister.com/2017/07/11/san-clemente-man-who-sued-county-over-excessive-force-during-arrest-gets-settlement/

Columbus, Ohio police break up health care protest at Sen. Rob Portman’s office, dump woman from wheelchair. “It appears those that have sworn to protect and serve us have seemed to fail to remember that their job is the safety and well-being of those they serve.”   http://myfox28columbus.com/news/local/protesters-claim-police-used-excessive-force   Video here, woman dumped out of wheelchair (1st angle) at about 2:00 mark.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juJQRkeOUe8   “If we have to push you out of your wheelchair, then that’s what we’ll have to do.” (at about 2:20 mark)   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4qZ2Ns8oWU

July 14, 2017

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