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August 23, 2013

Flying while brown

A terrible story about an innocent woman harassed for hours (and out $700) because of TSA xenophobia. /var/null
I got in line for security at the airport and handed the agent my ID. Another agent came over and handed me a paper slip, which he said was being used to track the length of the security lines. He said, “just hand this to someone when your stuff goes through the x-ray machines, and we’ll know how long you were in line.’ I looked at the timestamp on the paper: 10:40. When going through the security line, I opted out (as I always used to) of the millimeter wave detectors. I fly often enough, and have opted out often enough, that I was prepared for what comes next: a firm pat-down by a TSA employee wearing non-latex gloves, who uses the back of his hand when patting down the inside of the thighs. After the pat-down, the TSA agent swabbed his hands with some cotton-like material and put the swab in the machine that supposedly checks for explosive residue. The machine beeped. “We’re going to need to pat you down again, this time in private,” the agent said. Having been selected before for so-called “random” checks, I assumed that this was another such check. "What do you mean, ‘in private’? Can’t we just do this out here?" "No, this is a different kind of pat-down, and we can’t do that in public." When I asked him why this pat-down was different, he wouldn’t tell me. When I asked him specifically why he couldn’t do it in public, he said "Because it would be obscene." . . .

August 21, 2013

Private contracter torturers are suing their victims now

Alleged Torturers sue Abu Ghraib Torture Victims (Lazare) | Informed Comment
‘Defense’ contractor CACI International has taken the shocking step of suing four former Abu Ghraib detainees who are seeking redress in U.S. courts for the company’s role in [allegedly] torturing, humiliating and dehumanizing them, with the U.S. corporation recently requesting that the judge order the plaintiffs—- all of whom are Iraqi—-to pay CACI for legal costs. CACI is demanding over $15,000 in compensation, mostly for witness fees, travel allowances and deposition transcripts, according to court documents. “Given the wealth disparities between this multi-billion dollar entity and four torture victims, given what they went through, it’s surprising and appears to be an attempt to intimidate and punish these individuals for asserting their rights to sue in U.S. courts,” Baher Azny, legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is working on the case, told Common Dreams. Just weeks ago, a federal judge dismissed the former Abu Ghraib prisoners’ lawsuit against CACI International on the grounds that because Abu Ghraib is overseas, it is beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. courts. The plaintiffs are appealing the decision, with their lawyers arguing that a U.S. corporation operating in a U.S. military prison should be subject to U.S. law. . . .

August 20, 2013

Texas Deputy Sues Woman for 'Mental Anguish' After He Kills Her Son-in-Law

Texas Deputy Sues Woman for 'Mental Anguish' After He Kills Her Son-in-Law | Video Cafe
A Texas deputy has filed a lawsuit against a woman for past and future "mental anguish" after he was called to her house last year on a 911 call and forced to kill her son-in-law, who was allegedly behaving irrationally after using drugs. According to the Houston Chronicle, Harris County Deputy Brady Pullen is demanding that Camina Figueroa pay him $200,000 because she did not "adequately warn" dispatchers that Kemal Yazar "posed a violent threat to others" when she called 911 to say that he was acting crazy after several days of using bath salts. The lawsuit notes that "defendant [Figueroa] decided to evacuate the children for safety reasons" before calling police. Pullen claimed that he was violently attacked by Yazar as soon as he went through the door. The deputy said he was bitten and his nose was broken. Officers used their Tasers on Yazar, and then fired multiple shots with their service weapons, killing him. However, Corina Padilla, who witnessed the incident, said that her brother-in-law never touched the officers and was backing away with his hands up when they shot him. "At no moment did Kemal assault the officer," she insisted. "An unarmed man, a family guy, father and husband of three girls was killed. He had no criminal record. He was self-employed in import-export of very expensive rugs from Turkey and Persia."