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Blue_Tires's Journal
Blue_Tires's Journal
December 4, 2014

Iran: Journalist’s Detention Extended

(Beirut) – Iran’s judiciary has extended Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian’s pretrial detention for another two months. Rezaian, a dual Iranian and American national, is being held in a section of Evin prison controlled by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. He has been in detention for more than four months without being formally charged with any crime.

On November 18, 2014, authorities informed Rezaian that investigations against him are ongoing, and that his pretrial detention has been extended for another two months, a source familiar with his case told Human Rights Watch. Prosecutors have not allowed the lawyer hired by Rezaian’s family to defend him, to speak with him, or to review his case file, the source said. The source added that despite Rezaian’s inability to read or write Persian, authorities did not provide him with an official translator during his interrogation. With a judge’s approval, detaining authorities can, under Iranian law, hold a suspect indefinitely and deny him access to counsel.

“If authorities had evidence that Rezaian had committed a real crime, they should have charged him shortly after his arrest,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director. “At this point, they should simply release him.”

The Washington Post reported on July 24 that Rezaian had been arrested by security agents two days earlier together with his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, also a journalist, and an unnamed photojournalist and her spouse. They were arrested a day after Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance renewed Rezaian’s press credentials.

Gholamhossein Esmaeili, the head of Tehran’s judiciary, confirmed Rezaian’s arrest on July 25, saying he had “been detained for some questions,” but gave no other explanation. He said the judiciary would issue further details after completing its investigation, which has not yet happened. Authorities have since released Salehi and the others on bail, but have not yet charged them. Human Rights Watch is concerned, based on information it has received, that Salehi and Rezaian’s family have been pressured by authorities not to speak to the media or publicize the circumstances of his ongoing detention.


Interesting at how silent some always-outspoken advocates for global press freedoms have been about this (and no, I'm not naming names)...Funny how they don't have jack shit to say when they can't paint PBO as the bad guy...

December 2, 2014

St. Louis Rams’ “Don’t shoot” gesture was free speech, and the police should know it

Boy, the St. Louis police really know how to cool things down, don’t they? They’ve taken a controversial protest by a handful of football players, and mixed it with a whiff of bullying authority and a profound misunderstanding of the First Amendment, to create a bigger and more heated argument than it had to be. Sound familiar?

Five pass catchers for the St. Louis Rams raised their hands in a “don’t shoot” gesture during their on-field introductions Sunday, in a sign of solidarity with protesters in Ferguson, Mo., where a grand jury refused to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of the unarmed teenager Michael Brown. An infuriated spokesman for the St. Louis Police Officers Association, Jeff Roorda, called the display “unthinkable,” and has demanded the NFL discipline Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Chris Givens, Kenny Britt and Jared Cook for making their feelings known “so publicly.” But Roorda didn’t stop there. He added a veiled suggestion that the only thing protecting the Rams and the NFL from mob violence at games is the cops. And then he said:

“I know that there are those who say that these players are simply exercising their First Amendment rights. Well I’ve got news for people who think that way. Cops have First Amendment rights too, and we plan to exercise ours.”

Set aside for a moment the vaguely threatening tone of the “I’ve got news for people who think that way” statement. What’s even more disturbing about Roorda’s remarks is that he clearly doesn’t know what the First Amendment says, though he is a former cop and current member of the Missouri state House of Representatives.

Whatever you may think about the Rams players, their gesture is a good excuse to sort out some First Amendment issues. What right did those players have to speak, and what right do the police have to tell them to shut up?


Gotta love the pseudo-libertarians who become authoritarians overnight once anybody who isn't a white Christian male starts fighting for THEIR constitutional rights...

(And a special "fuck you" to all the quasi-libertarian scum who are still trying to hijack the death of Michael Brown to serve your own twisted agenda...)

December 2, 2014

How a Conservative Backlash Silenced #Ferguson Reporters for All the Wrong Reasons

On August 15, after the killing of Ferguson, Missouri teen Michael Brown had surged into the national consciousness, the Washington Post’s DeNeen L. Brown filed a story from a town up the road. There were “dark blue undercover police cars parked outside the house of Darren Wilson.” That house was located on “Manda Lane in Crestwood.” On August 16, the same details appeared in a story co-bylined by Brown, Jerry Markon, and Wesley Lowery. “Dark blue undercover police cars were parked outside his house on Manda Lane,” they wrote. Both stories made it clear that Wilson, the officer who killed Brown, had taken himself elsewhere.

On November 24, after a grand jury opted not to indict Wilson, the New York Times ran a story by Julie Bosman and Campbell Robertson about how the police officer had “quietly” gotten married while avoiding the press. Wilson and his wife owned a home “on Manda Lane in Crestwood.” The detail was included near the end of a story that briefly included an image of the couple’s marriage license. (It included the address of a law firm, but not Wilson’s address.)

What had been innocuous information became the kindling for a media bonfire. They attracted the attention Charles C. Johnson, the conservative journalist whose previous social media interactions include: tweeting call-in details that allowed activists to crash a Thad Cochran presser; tweeting the name of the Dallas “Ebola nurse” before big news outlets decided to reveal it; and reporting that ABC News paid “mid-to-high six figures” for an interview with Darren Wilson. When both ABC News and Wilson himself denied the claim, Johnson stuck by his “NBC source with knowledge” and suggested that ABC might have made a “backroom deal” as it did to interview Casey Anthony.

The upshot of Johnson’s stories is that the media can’t be trusted. The aftermath of the “Manda Lane” story is a harassment campaign against two reporters who, in the view of conservative readers, risked the life of Darren Wilson. On the right, the story of #Ferguson is that a vile and biased media inflated a simple case of self-defense into a bogus “racism” story. In this storyline, Wilson is the real victim, and his aggressors need to be shamed out of their jobs and comfort.

“The New York Times, whether consciously or not, has just endangered Darren Wilson’s life,” wrote Fox News media reporter Howard Kurtz. “I mean, why not add a locator map?” On November 25, Johnson published a story at his independent GotNews website with the headline “Why Can’t We Publish Addresses Of New York Times Reporters?” Spoiler: He didn’t agree with that headline.

“It would be wrong, for example, to publish Bosman’s address,” wrote Johnson, publishing the reporter’s address. “It would be similarly wrong to publish the address of Robertson, too.” Ditto. “So why do journalists think they are beyond examination?”

What followed was a crowdsourced campaign of trolling that succeeded in quieting Bosman and Robertson. Neither reporter has tweeted since November 25. Robertson, whom I met this year covering a story in Louisiana, has taken steps to remove his family from any possible threats. A simple Twitter search reveals dozens of people tweeting at the reporters, at the rate of about one per hour, spreading their addresses. While liberal Twitter was pummeling a GOP staffer who’d written an ill-advised criticism of the First Daughters, elements of conservative Twitter were attacking the Times reporters.


And this was the same day the Daily Caller had their big "expose" trying to figure out if Wesley Lowery was black...Because, you know, he's light enough to be part white, and if he has a white parent his upbringing was too privileged and clean to report about the bottom-feeding scum in the ghetto, and since he's part white, he's "above" them anyway, or something...

And no, I am not linking to it

December 2, 2014

WaPo: Darren Wilson and guilt by association

Colbert King highlighted something in his Saturday column that leapt off the pages of Darren Wilson’s testimony for me, too. The now-former Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown on Aug. 9 was asked about his “relationship with the residents” of the unarmed teenager’s apartment complex. Not only did the prosecutor’s questions strike me as hand-holding, but also Wilson’s broad-brush responses made my skin crawl.

Q: Did you guys have a volatile, well, how can I put this. Did you not really get along well with the folks that lived in that apartment, not you personally, I mean the police in general?

Wilson: It is an antipolice area for sure.

Q: And when you say antipolice, tell me more?

Wilson: There’s a lot of gangs that reside or associate with that area. There’s a lot of violence in that area, there’s a lot of gun activity, drug activity, it is just not a very well-liked community. That community doesn’t like the police.

Q: Were you pretty much on high alert being in that community by yourself, especially when Michael Brown said, ‘[expletive] what you say,’ I think he said?

Wilson: Yes.

Q: You were on pretty high alert at that point knowing the vicinity and the area that you’re in?

Wilson: Yes, that’s not an area where you can take anything really. Like I said, it is a hostile environment. There are good people over there, there really are, but I mean there is an influx of gang activity in that area.

What Wilson said is barely a few moments in his testimony, but its ugliness is in keeping with his overall tone about Brown. That nice bit about there being “good people over there” after trashing the entire community is no antidote to the poisoned opinion of the grand jury.

Alexandra Natapoff, associate dean for research and professor of law at Loyola Law School, was equally unamused. I had the good fortune of spending Thanksgiving with the associate dean for research and professor of law at Loyola Law School. Natapoff is also an expert on criminal informants and the author of “Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice.” Her current work is on misdemeanors and their effect on the criminal justice system, which I will get to in another post because of its connection to Ferguson.

“In some ways, we can understand Wilson’s response as classic guilt-by-association, and it’s one of the great complaints that African American neighborhoods have had for decades,” Natapoff told me. “Police officers have been told by authorities as high as the Supreme Court that they can draw inferences in high-crime neighborhoods or low-income or urban neighborhoods,” she continued, referring to the 2000 Supreme Court case Illinois v. Wardlow. This has “permitted police to drive devastating conclusions by the mere fact that the young person happens to live there.”


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