The latest popular uprising in Hong Kong is fighting to keep Beijing from dragging dissidents to mainland China

Hong Kong's 2016 Umbrella Revolution saw weeks of mass protests over a change to nomination rules for the city's ruling council, in which the central government in Beijing arrogated to itself the right to decide who could be on the ballot (Boss Tweed: "I don't care who gets to do the voting, so long as I get to do the nominating"). Read the rest

Europe's surging, far-right, "anti-establishment" parties: funded by billionaires, voting for billionaire-friendly policies, lining their own pockets

On May 26th, Europeans will vote for the next EU Parliament, and the region's far-right, "nationalist/anti-establishment" parties (AfD Germany, UKIP/Brexit UK, PiS/Poland, etc) are expected make large gains, possibly prompting a realignment of power in the EU; the far-right parties have campaigned as "anti-establishment," tapping into frustration with elites and their corruption. Read the rest

Ahead of California's criminal justice reforms to reduce mass incarceration, prosecutors are locking in plea deals forcing defendants to give up the rights they're about to get

If you enter into a plea deal in California today, your prosecutor will likely make you promise not to use any future legal reforms to get out of jail earlier than is stipulated in your plea -- that way, you won't be able to take advantage of the slate of criminal justice and sentencing reforms passed by the California legislature and voted in by Californians through ballot initiatives. Read the rest

UK cops are secretly harvesting all data from the phones and cloud accounts of suspects, victims and witnesses and insecurely storing it forever

Privacy International's blockbuster Digital Stop and Search report details how British police forces have quietly procured phone-searching tools (including mobile "kiosks" that let them probe devices in the field), often from companies with a track-record of abetting some of the world's worst human rights abusers, and they use these in secret to capture all the data they can from phones taken from suspects, victims and witnesses. Read the rest

London cops switch off wifi in the tube to make it harder for climate protesters to organise

This morning, the British Transport Police has ordered Virgin Media to switch off the wifi to some undisclosed London Underground stations in a bid to make it harder for climate protesters to organise their activities. Read the rest

EFF to Facebook: enforce your rules banning cops from creating sockpuppet accounts and be transparent when you catch cops doing it

Dave Maass from the Electronic Frontier Foundation writes, "Facebook’s practice of taking down these individual accounts when they learn about them from the press (or from EFF) is insufficient to deter what we believe is a much larger iceberg beneath the surface. We often only discover the existence of law enforcement fake profiles months, if not years, after an investigation has concluded. These four changes are relatively light lifts that would enhance transparency and establish real consequences for agencies that deliberately violate the rules." Read the rest

London cops are subjecting people in the centre of town to facial recognition today and tomorrow

People in Soho, Piccadilly Circus, and Leicester Square are being told by the London Metropolitan Police to submit to a trial of the force's notoriously inaccurate, racially biased facial recognition system, which clocks in an impressive error-rate of 98% (the system has been decried by Professor Paul Wiles, the British biometrics commissioner, as an unregulated mess). Read the rest

St Louis cops indicted for beating up a "protester" who turned out to be an undercover cop

After St Louis police officer Jason Stockley, killed an unarmed black man named Anthony Lamar Smith with an unauthorized AK-47, planted a pistol on his body, and was then acquitted on murder charges in 2017, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Dustin Boone sent several texts in which he relished the prospect of beating up the protesters he anticipated following the verdict: phrases like "It’s still a blast beating people" and It’s gonna get IGNORANT tonight!!” and “It’s gonna be a lot of fun beating the hell out of these s---heads once the sun goes down and nobody can tell us apart!!!!” Read the rest

Video: What fascism is...and isn't

Fascism is a word we've been hearing a lot of over these past few years, but are the mouths it's falling out of using it correctly? Some times, yeah. Many times, not so much.

This brief video delves into the history of the word "fascism" and explains that, while we're collectively barreling towards a particular flavor of this unsavory state of being, there's plenty of ways, with left and right-wing leanings, to be a fascist. Read the rest

Is this the full list of US cities that have bought or considered Predpol's predictive policing services?

Predpol (previously) is a "predictive policing" company that sells police forces predictive analytics tools that take in police data about crimes and arrests and spits out guesses about where the police should go to find future crimes. Read the rest

Felons, Nazis: Michigan is occupied by an army of 3,000 armed, unregulated "police reservists"

Michigan's brilliant businessman governor Rick Snyder has slashed the state's budget over and over, in service to an electorate who would vote for a smear of roadkill if it would promise to knock a dollar off their tax-bills. Read the rest

China's panicked upper middle class are easy picking for offshore real estate scams

The combination of Chinese anti-corruption reforms and currency controls has China's storied "middle class" (a nebulously defined category whose size and wealth are the subject of multiple, conflicting accounts) scrambling for ways to get their money out of the country and to establish bolt holes to escape to, should the situation suddenly worsen. Read the rest

Bernie Sanders on fighting global authoritarianism

Bernie Sanders -- who seems to have kicked off a 2020 presidential bid -- writes about the terrifying global parallels to Trumpism, from Japan to the Philippines to Hungary to Turkey and beyond, and talks about how an international solidarity movement has to advance a positive agenda of how the world can be taken back from looters and environmental crisis as a global tonic to these dictators-in-waiting. Read the rest

X-Men star's disappearance blamed on China's new "anti-corruption" snatch squad

Fan Bingbing is a Chinese megastar who has also appeared in western movies like "X-Men: Days of Future Past"; she has not been seen since June and the smart money has it that she was kidnapped by China's National Supervision Commission (NSC), an "anti-corruption" task force established in 2018, with a reputation for practicing "liuzhi" or "enforced disappearances." Read the rest

Middle school cop who arrested seventh graders "to prove a point" may yet face consequences

In 2013, Deputy Luis Ortiz was the "school resource officer" at Etiwanda Intermediate in San Bernardino County, California, when he arrested a group of 12- and 13-year-old girls, cuffing them and taking them to jail in a police vehicle; at the time and afterward, Ortiz said he arrested them "to prove a point" because he felt they were "unresponsive and disrespectful" and in his belief, introducing them to the criminal justice system would make them "mature a lot faster." Read the rest

Kalamazoo criminalizes homelessness, arrests city commissioner and other activists

Mike DeWaele writes, "A group of homeless activists had maintained a peaceful occupation of Bronson Park in Kalamazoo for about a month in protests of a new ordinance that made it illegal to sleep in public parks. The protest was well organized, clean and well maintained- at one point involving up to 200 homeless citizens and their supporters, with extensive logistical support from the larger community. The protest had clearly articulated demands but the City Comission was willing to address them only on a very superficial level, with no comitment to action, and then only after weeks of public pressure. While the talks were still ongoing, the city manager ordered local police to clear the camp, which happened before his morning. Several homeless and other activists refused to vacate, including city commissioner Shannon Sykes, who had been the lone voice on the commission in (passionate) support of the encampment and who had spent several nights with the protest as a supporter and observer. Those activists have all been arrested on as yet unknown charges." Read the rest

The sheriffs who cheered Trump's attack on the press have long histories of shady dealings, revealed by the press

Last week, Trump invited a collection to sheriffs to the White House for a rousing speech about the evils of the free press, exactly the kind of thing the leader of a democracy does all the time, and the sheriffs gave him a standing ovation, because that's exactly the kind of thing you'd want fairminded law-enforcement agents to do in a democracy. Read the rest

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