The report also found that 13 US states, more than a quarter, fall beneath the legal standards outlined in US constitutional law, while 9 of those 13, shockingly, have NO laws whatsoever that encompass lethal use of force.
This means that in 9 states, police can kill someone and avoid the consequences by claiming they had no choice but to use lethal force.
“While law enforcement in the United States is given the authority to use lethal force, there is no equal obligation to respect and preserve human life. It’s shocking that while we give law enforcement this extraordinary power, so many states either have no regulation on their books or nothing that complies with international standards,” Amnesty USA executive director Steven Hawkins told the London Guardian.
Hawkins described the findings as evidence that law enforcement departments have a “shocking lack of fundamental respect for the sanctity of human life.”
The study compared the statutes regarding use of lethal force of all 50 states against international principles which outline that lethal force is only ever used “in order to protect life” in “unavoidable” circumstance and after attempts to employ “less extreme means” to manage the situation.
International standards also outline that law enforcement officers should always identify themselves and give a clear warning if they intend to use deadly force.
The study found that not one single US state complies with both these standards, and only 8 states have a requirement of a verbal warning before engaging in the use of deadly force.
“None of the laws establish the requirement that lethal force may only be used as a last resort with non-violent means and less harmful means to be tried first. The vast majority of laws do not require officers to give a warning of their intent to use firearms.” the study concluded.
Amnesty noted that the 13 states that fall below US constitutional standards have statutes which are so vague in their wording, that they can easily be manipulated to allow for use of force in practically any circumstance.
The report notes that in North Dakota, police are sanctioned to use deadly force if an individual “has committed or attempted to commit a felony involving violence.” The level and scope of said violence and felony are not outlined in any way.
The 9 states that do not have any laws regarding lethal use of force are Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming – in addition to Washington D.C.
The report notes that this means police in those state nearly always investigate the actions of their own officers based on some arbitrary standard they have comprised for the specific circumstance.
Perhaps the most troubling finding in the report outlines how in nine states, police are legally permitted to use lethal force during “rioting”. The study found that in Pennsylvania, lethal force can be used if it is deemed “necessary to suppress a riot or mutiny after the rioters or mutineers have been ordered to disperse.”
International standards on lethal force also require all police related deaths to be reported. The central database for this activity to be logged, an FBI database, is completely voluntary, however. This means it is not really known how many “justifiable homicides” there are in the US, and the figure could be exponentially more than official records show.
Amnesty recommends a nationwide review of police use of lethal force laws, in addition to a thorough review and reform of oversight and accountability mechanisms at all levels of government.
Given the recent spotlight on police brutality in the US, Amnesty believes that “this report will produce some energy for change.”
Of course, US states are not beholden to comply with international laws. However, the findings, correlated with the huge number of police related killings in the US compared to other developed nations, paints a clear picture.
“Those states can of course argue that they follow common law or supreme court standards, but is that good enough?” Hawkins said. “Certainly we would expect that international human rights standards are what should govern and our fear is that, unless these are clearly quantified, a citizen in any state can’t look at what the law is. That’s critically important to ensuring accountability.”
A separate study recently compiled by Fatal Encounters, an impartial nonprofit organisation working to build a national database of police killings in the US, found that cops in the US are responsible for way more deaths on American soil than terrorism since the year 2000. Indeed, in that time, police have killed at least 5,600 people via gunshots, taserings, beatings and other forms of violence. That figure represents more than the total number of US combat deaths in all wars since 2000.
The organisation estimates that it has only captured about 35 percent of total police killings since 2000 so far. So at best, this map represents a minimum of police related killings over the past 15 years.
By those calculations, around SIXTEEN THOUSAND Americans are likely to have been killed by police in that time. Over 1000, every year.
In comparison with other first world nations; only three people were killed by police in 2014 in the UK; 12 people in Canada, and eight over the past two years in Germany. All this despite the fact that the crime index highlights that countries like the UK aren’t that far behind America in regards to overall crime rate.
The level of police killings only appears to be escalating into an epidemic. It is indicative of an endemic societal divide between Americans and their government (yes police work for the government).
Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.
The official Bilderberg Group website has released the full attendee list and agenda for this year’s conference. As ever, the list of topics to be discussed is so vague as to almost be meaningless. Infowars will have full coverage of Bilderberg’s detailed agenda later today and for the rest of the week.
63rd Bilderberg conference to take place from 11 – 14 June 2015 in Telfs-Buchen, Austria.
Telfs-Buchen, 8 June 2015 – The 63rd Bilderberg conference is set to take place from 11 – 14 June 2015 in Telfs-Buchen, Austria. A total of around 140 participants from 22 countries have confirmed their attendance. As ever, a diverse group of political leaders and experts from industry, finance, academia and the media have been invited. The list of participants is available on www.bilderbergmeetings.org
The key topics for discussion this year include:
Chemical Weapons Threats
Current Economic Issues
Founded in 1954, the Bilderberg conference is an annual meeting designed to foster dialogue between Europe and North America. Every year, between 120-150 political leaders and experts from industry, finance, academia and the media are invited to take part in the conference. About two thirds of the participants come from Europe and the rest from North America; approximately one third from politics and government and the rest from other fields.
The conference is a forum for informal discussions about major issues facing the world. The meetings are held under the Chatham House Rule, which states that participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s) nor of any other participant may be revealed.
Thanks to the private nature of the conference, the participants are not bound by the conventions of their office or by pre-agreed positions. As such, they can take time to listen, reflect and gather insights. There is no desired outcome, no minutes are taken and no report is written. Furthermore, no resolutions are proposed, no votes are taken, and no policy statements are issued.
Telfs-Buchen, Austria 11 – 14 June 2015
Final list of Participants
Castries, Henri de
Chairman and CEO, AXA Group
Achleitner, Paul M.
Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Deutsche Bank AG
Non-Executive Chairman, PA Consulting Group
Director, Danish Intelligence Service (DDIS)
Allen, John R.
Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, US Department of State
Altman, Roger C.
Executive Chairman, Evercore
Director of Transitions Forum, Legatum Institute
Director, Finnish Business and Policy Forum EVA
CEO and President, Markle Foundation
Balls, Edward M.
Former Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
Balsemão, Francisco Pinto
Chairman, Impresa SGPS
Barroso, José M. Durão
Former President of the European Commission
Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Founder, SIGNA Holding GmbH
Chairman, FB Group SRL
Beurden, Ben van
CEO, Royal Dutch Shell plc
Director, Institut Montaigne
Special Adviser on Financial and Economic Affairs to the President
Botín, Ana P.
Chairman, Banco Santander
Brandtzæg, Svein Richard
President and CEO, Norsk Hydro ASA
Publisher, Standard Verlagsgesellschaft
President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Director General, DGSI
Castries, Henri de
Chairman, Bilderberg Meetings; Chairman and CEO, AXA Group
Cebrián, Juan Luis
Executive Chairman, Grupo PRISA
Clark, W. Edmund
Retired Executive, TD Bank Group
Member of the Executive Board, European Central Bank
Editor, Editorials and Comment, National Post
Damberg, Mikael L.
Minister for Enterprise and Innovation
De Gucht, Karel
Former EU Trade Commissioner, State Minister
Minister of Finance
Donilon, Thomas E.
Former U.S. National Security Advisor; Partner and Vice Chair, O’Melveny & Myers LLP
CEO, Axel Springer SE
President, Royal Academy of Engineering
Vice President for Engineering, Advanced Technology and Projects, Google
Political Editor, Aftenposten
CEO, TV 2 Danmark A/S
Chairman and CEO, EXOR; Chairman, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
CEO, Airbus Group
CEO, JP Morgan Asset Management
Chairman, BBC Trust
Executive Vice President, Haldor Topsøe A/S
Feldstein, Martin S.
President Emeritus, NBER; Professor of Economics, Harvard University
Professor of History, Harvard University, Gunzberg Center for European Studies
Flint, Douglas J.
Group Chairman, HSBC Holdings plc
Chairman of the Board, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd
Fresco, Louise O.
President and Chairman Executive Board, Wageningen University and Research Centre
Founder and CEO, Citadel Investment Group, LLC
Executive Editor and Anchor “Otto e mezzo”, La7 TV
Professor of Economics, Sciences Po
Managing Partner, ELIG Law Firm
Former Chancellor of the Republic of Austria
Professor of Economics, Leiden University
Chairman, UniCredit Bank Austria AG
Vice President of Engineering, Google DeepMind
CEO, Siemens Austria
Vice Chairman, BlackRock Inc.
Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, LinkedIn
Chairman, Munich Security Conference
Jacobs, Kenneth M.
Chairman and CEO, Lazard
CEO, Gruner + Jahr
Johnson, James A.
Chairman, Johnson Capital Partners
Mayor of Bordeaux, Former Prime Minister
President and CEO, Siemens AG
CEO, Palantir Technologies
University Professor, Sciences Po
Deputy Chairman, Scottish Power
MP, Turkish Parliament
Kissinger, Henry A.
Chairman, Kissinger Associates, Inc.
Chairman and CEO, Alcoa
Knot, Klaas H.W.
President, De Nederlandsche Bank
Koç, Mustafa V.
Chairman, Koç Holding A.S.
Director General, Directorate General for Public Security
Kravis, Henry R.
Co-Chairman and Co-CEO, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
Senior Fellow and Vice Chair, Hudson Institute
Chairman and CEO, Kudelski Group
President, Globe Capital Partners
CEO, The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise
Chief Legal Officer, HSBC Holdings plc
Leyen, Ursula von der
Minister of Defence
Chairman of the Board of Directors, KBC Group
Senior Research Fellow, ICSR, King’s College London
Markus Lassen, Christina
Head of Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Security Policy and Stabilisation
Mathews, Jessica T.
Distinguished Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Vice-President of the State Council, Department of Security, Police and the Economy of Geneva
McKay, David I.
President and CEO, Royal Bank of Canada
Columnist, Professor of Political Science, Istanbul University
CEO, The Messina Group
Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg LP
Minton Beddoes, Zanny
Editor-in-Chief, The Economist
Senator-for-life; President, Bocconi University
Executive Director, The Finnish Family Firms Association
Mundie, Craig J.
Principal, Mundie & Associates
Chairperson, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
Netherlands, H.R.H. Princess Beatrix of the
CEO, Ryanair Plc
First Secretary of State and Chancellor of the Exchequer
Columnist, Haberturk Newspaper; Senior Lecturer, Kadir Has University
Group CEO, Titan Cement Co.
President, Public Establishment of the Palace, Museum and National Estate of Versailles
Perle, Richard N.
Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
Petraeus, David H.
Chairman, KKR Global Institute
Honorary President of The Hellenic Council of State
Reisman, Heather M.
Chair and CEO, Indigo Books & Music Inc.
Chairman, Techint Group
CEO, OMV Austria
Rubin, Robert E.
Co Chair, Council on Foreign Relations; Former Secretary of the Treasury
Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Sánchez Pérez-Castejón, Pedro
Leader, Partido Socialista Obrero Español PSOE
Chairman and Partner, Macro Advisory Partners
Sayek Böke, Selin
Vice President, Republican People’s Party
Schmidt, Eric E.
Executive Chairman, Google Inc.
CEO, Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG
CEO, Michelin Group
CEO, Raiffeisen Bank International AG
Secretary General, NATO
Deputy Minister of Defense
Sutherland, Peter D.
UN Special Representative; Chairman, Goldman Sachs International
Chairman, BP plc; Chairman, AB Volvo
CEO, The Government Pension Fund Norway
Thiel, Peter A.
President, Thiel Capital
President, Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy
Director-General, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
Vitorino, António M.
Partner, Cuetrecasas, Concalves Pereira, RL
Chairman, Investor AB
Partner, Mercury LLC
Wolf, Martin H.
Chief Economics Commentator, The Financial Times
Wolfensohn, James D.
Chairman and CEO, Wolfensohn and Company
Zoellick, Robert B.
Chairman, Board of International Advisors, The Goldman Sachs Group
Neither a conspiracy nor conjecture: By every quantitative measure, 21st century America has degenerated from being the beacon of democracy to a neo-feudal state.
From crime and punishment to the vast wealth and income-inequality gap, the rules are different for the political elite and economic nobility than they are for the common man bound to live by the letter of the law and brought to justice for minor infractions — all while political insiders, corporate charlatans and financial bandits are left free to rape, pillage and plunder.
What should have been headline news and met with outrage last Wednesday barely made the front page of newspapers or the top of broadcast news. Deemed not as important as the murder of a wealthy family who lived near Vice President Biden, or the motorcycle gang war that left nine dead, five of the world’s largest banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, pleaded guilty to felony charges for rigging the $5.3 trillion-a-day foreign-exchange markets.
Regardless of “brazenly illegal behavior” on a “massive scale,” the trend is clear: Despite a long track record of “breathtaking flagrancy” of stealing billions, the government, in case after case, gently hits banks with a slap-on-the-wrist fine — and not one top bankster is sent to jail.
It’s the same with whistleblowers and those who leak government information — more of whom the Obama Administration has sent to prison that all presidents combined. And when Washington insider, former general and CIA Director David Petraeus is caught giving his mistress classified material for her book, a small fine and no prison time result.
Cross the yellow line when driving, taillight out, don’t put on the turn signal, don’t lower the high beams, had one drink too many, can’t say the alphabet backward while standing on one foot… hefty fines and/or a handcuffed ride to the police station. Too poor to pay child support, missed a court date? Jail time.
Caught with a piece of crack the size of a kernel of popcorn, some marijuana, busted for shoplifting? Fifteen years in the prison industrial complex… or life without parole for the over 3,000 who committed non-violent crimes.
As with other articles and amendments to the Constitution that have been abrogated, We the Little People lost our right to have “equal protection of the laws.”
In neo-feudal America, the financial aristocracy and political elite are judged under a different set of laws.
Washington, D.C. – The passage of the USA FREEDOM Act, by the U.S. House, has been touted by some as a huge win for civil liberties. Surprisingly, the real winners were actually the NSA.
“What no one wants to say out loud is that this is a big win for the NSA, and a huge nothing burger for the privacy community,” said a former senior intelligence office, while speaking to The Daily Beast.
The bill doesn’t actually end or suspend the phone records program, but simply requires phone companies to hold onto these records rather than the NSA.
Additionally, under this bill the NSA will now get cell phone records in addition to the landline call records. Under the current collection regime, only landline call records are kept.
“The NSA is coming out of this unscathed,” Joel Brenner, the NSA’s former inspector general, told The Daily Beast. “I think no one thought it was in the realm of the possible before this bill.”
The irony is that this is exactly what former NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander had wanted to implement previously, but the idea was shelved due to the extreme unlikeliness of Congress being willing to pass such legislation.
“The USA Freedom Act”—the supposed reining in of the NSA—“was literally born from Alexander,” the former official said.
In essence the NSA got exactly what it wanted.
So keep in mind that you will read all sorts of stories and headlines about how the latest USA FREEDOM Act ends “bulk” collection.
In fact, the bill expressly authorizes, for the first time, the NSA, FBI, and other government agencies to unconstitutionally collect data in bulk on potentially millions of law-abiding Americans.
Keep in mind that just last week the U.S. Court of Appeals Eleventh Circuit ruled that citizens have no expectation of privacy when it comes to records held by a third party, such as a cellphone company.
Because the private data was in the possession of the carrier, the court ruled that it does not belong to individual customer, but instead the carrier.
By this logic, the state claims the right to be able to sift through your medical records, personal financial data, Dropbox files and anything else that is not stored directly on your private property.
Here’s a full statement from Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich), the sponsor of the original USA FREEDOM Act from the 113th Congress in 2013, on why he voted no on this current manifestation/retardation of the USA FREEDOM Act:
Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the bulk telephone metadata program run by the National Security Agency (NSA) is not authorized by Section 215 of the Patriot Act and is thus unlawful. The ruling is a big win for privacy and civil liberties advocates who have long argued that Section 215 clearly does not contemplate the type of mass collection we now know is occurring. But the win will be short-lived if H.R. 2048, the latest version of the USA FREEDOM Act that’s scheduled to be considered by the House of Representatives this afternoon, becomes law.
Section 215 authorizes the government to collect records and other “tangible things” that are “relevant” to a terrorism or foreign intelligence investigation. To support the bulk collection of data pertaining to millions of law-abiding Americans, the government has effectively claimed that all records everywhere are potentially relevant to a current or future investigation, and thus all records are fair game for collection. In its ruling, the Second Circuit had little choice but to reject the government’s broad interpretation of “relevant,” given that the rest of the statute gives no indication Congress ever contemplated collection on such a mass scale.
So far, so good.
But H.R. 2048 threatens to undo much of the progress resulting from the Second Circuit’s opinion. The bill’s sponsors, and unfortunately some outside advocacy groups, wrongly claim that H.R. 2048 ends “bulk” collection. It’s true that the bill ends the phone dragnet as we currently know it—by having the phone companies themselves hold, search, and analyze certain data at the request of the government, which is worse in many ways given the broader set of data the companies hold—but H.R. 2048 actually expands the statutory basis for the large-scale collection of most data.
H.R. 2048 does this by authorizing the government to order the production of records based upon a “specific selection term” (i.e., like a search term used in a search engine). The records sought still must be relevant to an investigation, so it’s possible the court’s ruling will continue to restrain the government in some fashion. But it’s more likely a court looking at H.R. 2048’s language will see the “specific selection term” as defining the outer limits of what Congress considers acceptably “relevant” under Section 215.
Indeed, the Second Circuit encouraged Congress in reforming Section 215 to make a “congressional judgment as to what is ‘reasonable’ under current circumstances.” Unfortunately, “specific selection term” is defined so broadly under the bill as to have little effect on narrowing the scope of items the government may obtain through a 215 order.
A “specific selection term” may be a specific person (including a corporation, such as Western Union), account, address, or personal device, but it also may be “any other specific identifier,” and the bill expressly contemplates using geographic regions or communication service providers (such as Verizon) to define the records sought, so long as it’s not the only identifier used as part of the specific selection term. In other words, the bill doesn’t let the government require Verizon to turn over all its records without limitation, but nothing appears to prevent the government from requiring Verizon to turn over all its records for all its customers in the state of New York. Only a politician or bureaucrat wouldn’t call that “bulk.”
H.R. 2048 gives our intelligence agencies, for the first time, statutory authority to collect Americans’ data in bulk. In light of the Second Circuit’s opinion that the NSA has been collecting our information in bulk without statutory authority for all this time, it would be a devastating misstep for Congress to pass a bill that codifies that bulk collection and likely ensures no future court will ever again be positioned to rule against the government for over-collecting on statutory grounds.
H.R. 2048 falls woefully short of reining in the mass collection of Americans’ data, and it takes us a step in the wrong direction by specifically authorizing such collection in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. Americans, and members of Congress, should demand that Congress instead pass the original, bipartisan version of the USA FREEDOM Act from 2013, which strengthened—not weakened—Section 215’s relevance standard to end bulk collection, while still allowing the government the flexibility it needs to pursue genuine threats against the United States.
This bait and switch of the American people is a farce and shows the weakness of our system. The original USA FREEDOM Act was introduced as means of reigning in the domestic spying apparatus, by Rep. Amash in 2013. In 2015, that name has been co-opted with a piece of legislation that codifies the legal reasoning for domestic spying by the NSA and their cronies in Congress.
The bill now moves on to the U.S. Senate.
If you think domestic spying is bad for America call your Senator and tell them to vote NO on the USA FREEDOM Act! Please share this crucial information with your friends, as the propaganda surrounding this legislation is strong and we need the truth to be revealed!!