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Disregarding the Constitution

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The Veil Is Lifted, The Gloves Are Off: the outrageous sentencing of Lynne Stewart

by Elaine Brower
WorldCantWait.net

The government had alleged that Lynne had facilitated communication between a man she was defending in court, fundamentalist Islamic cleric Omar Abdel Rahman, and people in Egypt. The judge in Lynne’s trial sentenced her to 28 months in prison. An appeal to the conviction and sentencing resulted in a different judge upholding the conviction, while ordering a re-sentencing that was not “trivial”, since Lynne had “indicated a lack of remorse”. After her sentencing, her prosecutor praised the work of the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force for its role in the persecution of Lynne Stewart, and thanked U.S. Bureau of Prisons for its assistance.

Show Editor’s Note »

On July 15, radical lawyer and War Criminals Watch Advisory Board member Lynne Stewart was sentenced to 10 years in prison. In February 2005, Lynne had been convicted on 7 counts of “conspiracy, providing material support to terrorists, and defrauding the U.S. government”.

Words Lynne Stewart spoke after her original conviction still ring true: “I see myself as being a symbol of what the people rail against when they say our civil liberties are eroded. This case could be, I hope it will be, a wakeup call to all of the citizens of this country and all of the people who live here that you can’t lock up the lawyers. You can’t tell the lawyers how to do their job. You’ve got to let them operate. And I will fight on. I am not giving up. I… Continue reading

Obama’s War on the Internet

By Philip Giraldi
July 19, 2010
Campaign For Liberty

The Ministry of Truth

The Ministry of Truth was how George Orwell described the mechanism used by government to control information in his seminal novel 1984. A recent trip to Europe has convinced me that the governments of the world have been rocked by the power of the internet and are seeking to gain control of it so that they will have a virtual monopoly on information that the public is able to access. In Italy, Germany, and Britain the anonymous internet that most Americans are still familiar with is slowly being modified. If one goes into an internet café it is now legally required in most countries in the European Union to present a government issued form of identification. When I used an internet connection at a Venice hotel, my passport was demanded as a precondition and the inner page, containing all my personal information, was scanned and a copy made for the Ministry of the Interior — which controls the police force. The copy is retained and linked to the transaction. For home computers, the IP address of the service used is similarly recorded for identification purposes. All records of each and every internet usage, to include credit information and keystrokes that register everything that is written or sent, is accessible to the government authorities on demand, not through the action of a court or an independent authority. That means that there is de facto no right to privacy and a government bureaucrat decides what can and cannot be “reviewed” by the authorities.…

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Rescheduled – Truth Activists (Gold & Veeder) on Trial Thursday

June 9, 2010 Update
from Cindy Sheehan

On the 7th anniversary of the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq, eight people were arrested in front of the White House protesting the continuing crimes-you know that place! It’s a big White House-as a matter of fact it’s a HUGE White House in the middle of a park-like estate where heavily armed thugs protecting war criminals roam. It’s okay to stop and gawk and take pictures if you are decked out in Hawaiian shirts or sundresses, but exercising fundamental rights to free speech or to peaceable assemble is not.

On March 20th, about 8000 people attended a permitted and almost lethargically tame protest in Lafayette Park, which is next to the HUGE White House. Then there was a march around in circles that landed the protest right back in front of the White House. Four people decided to lie down on the sidewalk in protest (four out of 8000), and four of us decided to cross the police line (a metal barrier on the sidewalk between the street and the high iron-barred, sniper guarded fence that surrounds the HUGE White House), to try and join the measly four that were lying there begging people to join them.

I was one of the ones arrested for crossing the police line. I did not push the barrier down, but when it fell, I crossed-I was immediately body slammed and arrested. That was at approximately 2:44pm. An amended police report misleadingly lied and said that I was given three warnings to leave-I was not and subsequent evidence shows that the warnings to disperse over the bullhorn didn’t even begin until after I had been arrested.…

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U.S. Approves Targeted Killing of American Cleric

By Scott Shane
April 6, 2010
NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has taken the extraordinary step of authorizing the targeted killing of an American citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is believed to have shifted from encouraging attacks on the United States to directly participating in them, intelligence and counterterrorism officials said Tuesday.

Mr. Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico and spent years in the United States as an imam, is in hiding in Yemen. He has been the focus of intense scrutiny since he was linked to Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Tex., in November, and then to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man charged with trying to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Dec. 25.

American counterterrorism officials say Mr. Awlaki is an operative of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the affiliate of the terror network in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. They say they believe that he has become a recruiter for the terrorist network, feeding prospects into plots aimed at the United States and at Americans abroad, the officials said.

It is extremely rare, if not unprecedented, for an American to be approved for targeted killing, officials said. A former senior legal official in the administration of George W. Bush said he did not know of any American who was approved for targeted killing under the former president.

But the director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair, told a House hearing in… Continue reading

9/11 Mother Demands Obama Try Terrorist Plotters In Civilian Court

March 31, 2010

Peacefultomorrows.org

From the Huffington Post:

In anticipation of a final announcement as to the trial venue for the 9/11 plotters, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows is warning the president against “buckling to political pressure,” calling the use of military tribunals the “wrong thing to do.”

In a nearly four-minute long video, Donna Marsh O’Connor — a Peaceful Tomorrows member who lost her pregnant daughter when the Twin Towers collapsed — speaks both to the broad notion that America has a “historic commitment to justice” and, more narrowly, to the horse-trading politics that now surround terrorist trials. Reflecting disappointment with recent signals from the White House, O’Connor calls specifically for the president to reject a reported compromise proposal with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in which the administration would drop plans for civilian trials in exchange for Republican support for the closure of Gitmo.

“As 9/11 families, we have suffered greatly and waited almost nine years to see justice done with our own eyes,” O’Connor says. “We understand that you face political pressure to back down. We ask that you do not allow fear and prejudice to govern your decision as we are not afraid. We know our country is strong enough to hold on to our values in the face of terrorism.”

The video follows other efforts from Peaceful Tomorrows to advocate for civilian trials for the 9/11 suspects.

 

Letter to President Obama… Continue reading

Deep Background

by Philip Giraldi
April 1, 2010 edition of American Conservative

Even in World War II, the United States did not attempt to assassinate U.S. citizens who went over to the enemy, but that has now changed with President Obama’s overseas contingency operations. On Feb. 3, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair told the House Intelligence Committee that the United States government has developed procedures for killing American citizens abroad who are “involved” with groups threatening to carry out terrorist acts directed against other Americans. Three U.S. citizens have already been approved by the White House for summary execution as soon as actionable intelligence is developed to enable a pilotless drone’s hellfire missiles to do the killing. One is Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi; the second is American al-Qaeda member Adam Perlman, who goes under the name Adam Yahiye Gadahn; and the third is believed to be a Somali from Minnesota who has joined the al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabab in the Horn of Africa. Anwar al-Aulaqi, linked in the media to the Christmas underwear bombing and with Major Malik Nadal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, has denied any involvement in either incident. Perlman, a propagandist for al-Qaeda, is in Waziristan. Killing these men would involve using military drones to attack targets in three countries with which the United States is not at war.

The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution guarantee a citizen due process and a public trial, as well as the right to confront his accuser. The Obama administration… Continue reading

Presidential assassinations of U.S. citizens

By Glenn Greenwald
January 27, 2010
Salon.com

(updated below – Update II)

The Washington Post‘s Dana Priest today reports that “U.S. military teams and intelligence agencies are deeply involved in secret joint operations with Yemeni troops who in the past six weeks have killed scores of people.” That’s no surprise, of course, as Yemen is now another predominantly Muslim country (along with Somalia and Pakistan) in which our military is secretly involved to some unknown degree in combat operations without any declaration of war, without any public debate, and arguably (though not clearly) without any Congressional authorization. The exact role played by the U.S. in the late-December missile attacks in Yemen, which killed numerous civilians, is still unknown.

But buried in Priest’s article is her revelation that American citizens are now being placed on a secret “hit list” of people whom the President has personally authorized to be killed:

After the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush gave the CIA, and later the military, authority to kill U.S. citizens abroad if strong evidence existed that an American was involved in organizing or carrying out terrorist actions against the United States or U.S. interests, military and intelligence officials said. . . .

The Obama administration has adopted the same stance. If a U.S. citizen joins al-Qaeda, “it doesn’t really change anything from the standpoint of whether we can target them,” a senior administration official said. “They are then part of the enemy.”

Both the CIA and the JSOC maintain lists… Continue reading

Obama confidant’s spine-chilling proposal

By Glenn Greenwald
January 15, 2010
Salon.com

(updated below – Update II – Update III – Update IV)

Cass Sunstein has long been one of Barack Obama’s closest confidants. Often mentioned as a likely Obama nominee to the Supreme Court, Sunstein is currently Obama’s head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs where, among other things, he is responsible for “overseeing policies relating to privacy, information quality, and statistical programs.” In 2008, while at Harvard Law School, Sunstein co-wrote a truly pernicious paper proposing that the U.S. Government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites — as well as other activist groups — which advocate views that Sunstein deems “false conspiracy theories” about the Government. This would be designed to increase citizens’ faith in government officials and undermine the credibility of conspiracists. The paper’s abstract can be read, and the full paper downloaded, here.

Sunstein advocates that the Government’s stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups.” He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called “independent” credible voices to bolster the Government’s messaging (on the ground that those who don’t believe government sources will be more inclined to listen to those who appear independent while secretly acting on behalf of the Government). This program would target those advocating false “conspiracy theories,” which they define to mean: “an attempt to explain an event or… Continue reading

‘Obama Has Kept the Machine Set on Kill’ — Allan Nairn Reviews Obama’s First Year in Office

January 6, 2010
DemocracyNow.org Nairn-democracynow

In an extended interview, award-winning journalist and activist Allan Nairn looks back over the Obama administration’s foreign policy and national security decisions over the last twelve months. “I think Obama should be remembered as a great man because of the blow he struck against white racism,” Nairn says. “But once he became president…Obama became a murderer and a terrorist, because the US has a machine that spans the globe, that has the capacity to kill, and Obama has kept it set on kill. He could have flipped the switch and turned it off…but he chose not to do so.” He continues, “In fact, as far as one can tell, Obama seems to have killed more civilians during his first year than Bush did in his first year, and maybe even than Bush killed in his final year.”

LISTEN
WATCH

Guest: Allan Nairn, award-winning journalist and activist.
Website: News and Comment (www.allannairn.com)

ANJALI KAMAT: On Tuesday, President Obama made another statement on the failure of intelligence agencies to intercept the Christmas Day plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight. He said the US government had the necessary information to stop the twenty-three-year-old Nigerian suspect from boarding the Detroit-bound flight, but he excoriated the intelligence community for failing to connect the dots in time.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I will accept that intelligence, by its nature, is imperfect. But it is increasingly clear that intelligence was not fully analyzed… Continue reading

One Day We’ll All be Terrorists

by Chris Hedges
Truthdig.com

Syed Fahad Hashmi can tell you about the dark heart of America. He knows that our First Amendment rights have become a joke, that habeas corpus no longer exists and that we torture, not only in black sites such as those at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan or at Guantánamo Bay, but also at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Lower Manhattan. Hashmi is a U.S. citizen of Muslim descent imprisoned on two counts of providing and conspiring to provide material support and two counts of making and conspiring to make a contribution of goods or services to al-Qaida. As his case prepares for trial, his plight illustrates that the gravest threat we face is not from Islamic extremists, but the codification of draconian procedures that deny Americans basic civil liberties and due process. Hashmi would be a better person to tell you this, but he is not allowed to speak.

This corruption of our legal system, if history is any guide, will not be reserved by the state for suspected terrorists, or even Muslim Americans. In the coming turmoil and economic collapse, it will be used to silence all who are branded as disruptive or subversive. Hashmi endures what many others, who are not Muslim, will endure later. Radical activists in the environmental, globalization, anti-nuclear, sustainable agriculture and anarchist movements–who are already being placed by the state in special detention facilities with Muslims charged with terrorism–have discovered that his fate is their fate. Courageous… Continue reading

911TruthStore Orders – Deadline for Christmas Holiday

Our 911TruthStore is closing soon. Cover image of Into the Buzzsaw by Borjesson Please have a look at what’s left in inventory, and if you are interested in any of these items and wish to give them as gifts or share with family at the holidays, order right away.The deadline for pre-Christmas delivery is 12/16 if you wish to use Priority Mail; 12/23 if you pay for USPS overnight shipping.

There is one more item available, in addition to what’s at the store … we have just received a few brand new copies of Kristina Borjesson’s excellent 2004 book, “Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press”. Although I’ve not yet added it to the store website, they are available. Please email me to order, with BOOK ORDER in the subject line. If you’re wondering why we can’t “break through” the corporate media, you’ll understand clearly after reading this expose! The book description follows below.


EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK

Editor’s (Borjesson) Note: While working in what has been, arguably, the most difficult reporting environment in recent times, CBS’s Dan Rather chose to speak out frankly to BBC Newsnight correspondent Madeleine Holt about the serious and dangerous constraints that he and his colleagues have experienced in the post-9/11 era. I know of no other working broadcast journalist of Rather’s long experience and stature who has been willing to go on the record in such a significant way about these matters.

BBC NEWSNIGHT, MAY 16, 2002

Holt: How much of a challenge professionally has covering September… Continue reading

Yahoo, Verizon: Our Spy Capabilities Would ‘Shock’, ‘Confuse’ Consumers

By Kim Zetter
December 1, 2009
Wired.com

Want to know how much phone companies and internet service providers charge to funnel your private communications or records to U.S. law enforcement and spy agencies?

That’s the question muckraker and Indiana University graduate student Christopher Soghoian asked all agencies within the Department of Justice, under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed a few months ago. But before the agencies could provide the data, Verizon and Yahoo intervened and filed an objection on grounds that, among other things, they would be ridiculed and publicly shamed were their surveillance price sheets made public.

Yahoo writes in its 12-page objection letter (.pdf), that if its pricing information were disclosed to Soghoian, he would use it “to ‘shame’ Yahoo! and other companies — and to ‘shock’ their customers.”

“Therefore, release of Yahoo!’s information is reasonably likely to lead to impairment of its reputation for protection of user privacy and security, which is a competitive disadvantage for technology companies,” the company writes.

Verizon took a different stance. It objected to the release (.pdf) of its Law Enforcement Legal Compliance Guide because it might “confuse” customers and lead them to think that records and surveillance capabilities available only to law enforcement would be available to them as well — resulting in a flood of customer calls to the company asking for trap and trace orders.

“Customers may see a listing of records, information or assistance that is available only to law enforcement,” Verizon writes in its… Continue reading

Breaking: CIA agents guilty of Italy kidnap

November 4, 2009
BBC News

An Italian judge has convicted 23 Americans – all but one of them CIA agents – and two Italian secret agents for the 2003 kidnap of a Muslim cleric.

The agents were accused of abducting Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, known as Abu Omar, from Milan and sending him to Egypt, where he was allegedly tortured.

The trial, which began in June 2007, is the first involving the CIA’s so-called “extraordinary rendition” programme.

Three Americans and five Italians were acquitted by the court in Milan.

The Americans were all tried in their absence as they have not been extradited from the US to Italy.

The CIA’s Milan station chief at the time, Robert Lady, was given an eight-year term, while the other 22 Americans convicted – one of them a US air force colonel – were sentenced to five years in prison.

Lawyers for the 23 Americans said they would appeal against their convictions.

The two Italian agents, who were convicted as accomplices to kidnapping, were given three-year prison terms.

The court also ruled that those convicted must pay 1m euros ($1.5m) in damages to Abu Omar and 500,000 euros to his wife.

CIA spokesman George Little in Washington declined to comment on the convictions, telling the Associated Press news agency: “The CIA has not commented on any of the allegations surrounding Abu Omar.”

Secrecy laws

Italian prosecutors said Abu Omar was taken as part of a series of extraordinary renditions carried out by the CIA – when terror suspects were moved between countries without any public legal process.…

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Would you still sign the 9/11 Truth petition?

We ask signatories of the statement that helped drive Van Jones from office if they stand by it. Updated

By Vincent Rossmeier
Salon.com

Thanks in large part to his association with the 9/11 Truth movement , Van Jones is no longer a member of the Obama White House. Jones resigned last week amid a swirl of controversy — prodded on largely by Fox News’ Glenn Beck — that included the former “green jobs” advisor’s signing of a petition put out by the 9/11 Truth movement urging a further investigation into the World Trade Center attacks. Most controversially, the petition wondered darkly that “unanswered questions … suggest that people within the current administration may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war,” before drifting into a list of wild and dubious speculation. (You can read the petition right here .)

Initially, Jones said that he hadn’t fully reviewed the statement before he signed. But that didn’t stop the onslaught of bad publicity that ultimately led to his exit.

The statement was released in October 2004 and has been signed by nearly 200 people, including many relatives of those who lost someone in the attacks. It called for an investigation into 9/11 but also directly questioned the government’s conclusions about the plane crashes.

In the wake of Jones’ departure, Politico’s Ben Smith contacted two other signatories of the statement, Rabbi Michael Lerner and historian Howard Zinn. Smith found that both men felt they had signed a petition of more limited scope than the one that appears at the 9/11 Truth Web site, one that asked only for an investigation into the attacks and not one questioning President Bush’s prior knowledge of 9/11.…

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Important information from PEERS and WantToKnow.info

Editor’s Note:
This excellent newsletter is sent by the team at WantToKnow.info. Here is the latest. Subscription information is at the end.

 

Dear friends,

Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on US government plans to launch swine flu vaccinations in the fall, a report of widespread torture at the US secret prison at Bagram, Afghanistan, revelations that weapons inspector David Kelly’s mysterious death may have been related to his intention to expose a worldwide black market in weaponized anthrax, and more. Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails to function, click here. The most important sentences are highlighted for those with limited time. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

With best wishes,
Tod Fletcher and Fred Burks for PEERS and the WantToKnow.info Team

Important Note: We’ve been hit hard by the ecomonic downturn. Donations this year are less than half what they were at this time last year. We would deeply appreciate support from any of you that can afford it. To help further this work, please click here.


 

U.S. to vaccinate millions against swine flu

July 10, 2009, Washington Post

School-age children will be a key target= population for a pandemic flu vaccine in the fall, and they may be vaccinated at school in a mass campaign not seen since the polio epidemics of the 1950s.…

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9-11 Conspiracy Theorists Sue St. Louis

By JOE HARRIS
May 12, 2009
Courthouse News Service

ST. LOUIS (CN) – Two 9-11 conspiracy theorists say St. Louis used an unconstitutional ordinance to violate their right to free speech. Donald Stahl and William Demsar say city police arrested them on Feb. 6 for carrying a banner that stated, “911 Was An Inside Job!”

In their federal claim, the men say it was a peaceful protest calling for a new, independent investigation into the federal government’s involvement into the events of September 11, 2001. The men say they were not blocking pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

They say police arrested them and destroyed their sign based on an ordinance that states: “No person shall sell or offer for sale any goods or merchandise, display any sign or pictures, participate in or conduct an exhibition or demonstration, talk, sing or play music on any street or abutting premises, or alley in consequences of which there is such a gathering of persons or stopping of vehicles as to impede either pedestrians or vehicular traffic.”

Stahl and Demsar say the law is vague and overbroad, fails to provide alternatives for speech and lends itself to arbitrary enforcement. They want the city enjoined from enforcing it. They are represented by Anthony Rothert with the American Civil Liberties Union.

Full text of COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY JUDGMENT AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

RELATED:

9-11 Conspiracy Theorists Sue St. Louis City
By Chad Garrison in News
May 14, 2009
Riverfront Times Blog

stlouissignTwo 9-11 conspiracy theorists are suing… Continue reading

Cowardice in the Time of Torture

By Ray McGovern
April 5, 2009
ConsortiumNews.com

I used to take a certain pride by association with prominent Bronxites who have “made it.” Cancel that for Attorney General Eric Holder and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

You might think that as African-Americans, they would be especially outraged by torture, given what blacks have suffered at the hands of white torturers in this country and abroad.

Why is it that they seem to value more their admittance into a privileged white-dominated ruling class than doing the right thing? How else to explain their stunning reluctance to hold torturers accountable and thus remove the stain of torture from our nation’s soul and reputation?

One might say that Attorney General Holder is proving himself to be part of that “nation of cowards” that he called the United States in a different context, i.e. our unwillingness to address the issue of race. What about when the victims of torture are Muslims? Where’s Holder’s courage then?

Surely, I was not the only one stunned by former Vice President Dick Cheney’s public admission that he helped authorize waterboarding of detainees. But, on reflection, there seems to have been a method to his madness; and, so far at least, the method seems to be working.

Have Holder and Colin Powell forgotten from their days growing up in the Bronx the typical reaction of bullies when caught in the act? “Okay, so waddaya gonna do ’bout it!” It was an attempt at intimidation, and it was generally… Continue reading

The Political Persecution of the RNC 8

by Leslie Rose
February 23, 2009
Revcom.us

Introduction to the Series:

A very important case is unfolding in Minnesota–eight people are being singled out by the government for their role in the political protests at the 2008 Republican National Convention (RNC).

At the September ’08 RNC in St. Paul, war criminal John McCain and right-wing religious fundamentalist Sarah Palin were being selected as the Republican ticket for the presidential race. The national media spent endless hours on things like Palin’s unmarried pregnant daughter. Meanwhile, the streets of St. Paul were turned into a militarized zone with massive police mobilization. Over the course of four days, thousands defied the armed clampdown to make known their opposition to U.S. wars-torture-spying and the imperialist globalization that has brought suffering to a huge section of humanity and caused catastrophic environmental damage. Over 800 people were arrested and scores were brutalized by the police.

Even before the protests started, law enforcement authorities carried out preemptive raids and arrests of activists and independent journalists throughout Minneapolis/St. Paul (the Twin Cities). Among those arrested were eight who are now being targeted for persecution, facing over 12 years in prison. They are known as the RNC 8.

For the first time, a state version of the fascistic USA Patriot Act is being applied to political demonstrations. The RNC 8 are charged with felony conspiracy to riot in furtherance of terrorism and felony conspiracy to commit criminal damage to property in furtherance of terrorism, along with two other felonies. They were sitting in jail for the duration of the Republican convention–but they are being held legally responsible for anything that any protestor did during that time.

The prosecution of the RNC 8 would set a very bad precedent that criminalizes political protest. But too few people even know about this case. Everyone who understands the importance of dissent and the ability to resist the crimes being committed by the government and ruling institutions needs to speak out. A big demand to drop the charges on the RNC 8 needs to be raised from a broad cross section of society. This railroad must be stopped cold in its tracks.

In three articles over several issues of Revolution, this series examines key aspects and layers of what has come to light about the unjust prosecution of the RNC 8. The three articles are: “The Case of the RNC 8”; “The Informants and Undercover Agents”–the lies and strategy of the government; “The Clampdown”–the police state, mass arrests, and targeting of journalists.

*****

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