Nationwide Protests Continue, Now Targeting Lawmakers

Several people standing with “resist” signs in @RepMcClintock meeting. @KQEDnews – photo by Katie Orr KQED

By Dave Johnson for Our Future – The offices of other House Republicans who represent districts in southern California, like Mimi Walters of Irvine, Darrell Issa of Vista, Dana Rohrabacher of Huntington Beach and Steve Knight of Santa Clarita, are regularly being swarmed with protesters. According to another Los Times Times article…About 200 people gathered outside the office of Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) last week and couldn’t get inside. Walters spokeswoman Abigail Sigler said that the congresswoman was in Washington at the time and that the office doors were locked because members of the group “have repeatedly harassed the congresswoman’s staff,” including on Twitter.

Defending Civil Resistance Under International Law

Flickr/ teofilo

By Editor of Counter Currents – Since the Reagan administration’s ascent to power in 1981, thousands of American citizens have engaged in various forms of non-violent civil resistance activities in order to protest against distinct elements of U.S. foreign policy that violate basic principles of international law. These citizen protests have led to numerous arrests and prosecutions by federal, state, and local governments around the country. The author has given advice, counsel and assistance to individuals and groups who have engaged in acts of non-violent civil resistance directed against several aspects of the U.S. government’s foreign policy: the Nuclear Freeze Movement, the Sanctuary Movement, the Anti-Apartheid Movement, the Plowshares, and the Pledge of Resistance, among others

As Trump Takes Power, Politicians Around US Move To Make Protesting Illegal

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By Sarah Cronin for Activist Post – Indiana passed a bill on Wednesday that authorizes police officers to shut down highway protesting “by any means necessary.” S.B. 285, as it is known, obliges a public official to dispatch all available officers within 15 minutes of discovering any assembly of 10 or more people who are obstructing vehicle traffic. The bill then authorizes the responding officers to clear roads “by any means necessary.” Critics are calling it the “Block Traffic and You Die” bill, an apt name for a bill that has co-opted the phrase “any means necessary,” used famously in speech delivered by Malcolm X during the Civil Rights movement, turning it into a threat against government dissent (with no apparent awareness of the irony).

The Rights Of Nature: Indigenous Philosophies Reframing Law

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By Kiana Herold for IC – Indigenous battles to defend nature have taken to the streets, leading to powerful mobilizations like the gathering at Standing Rock. They have also taken to the courts, through the development of innovative legal ways of protecting nature. In Ecuador, Bolivia and New Zealand, indigenous activism has helped spur the creation of a novel legal phenomenon—the idea that nature itself can have rights. The 2008 constitution of Ecuador was the first national constitution to establish rights of nature. In this legal paradigm shift, nature changed from being held as property to a rights-bearing entity. Rights are typically given to actors who can claim them—humans—but they have expanded especially in recent years to non-human entities such as corporations, animals and the natural environment.

Dakota Access Pipeline Company Intends To Break Law To Finish Project

A masked warrior woman raises her fist at a Dakota Access construction site./Photo by Doug Grandt

By John Zangas for DC Media Group – The Obama Administration is presently considering a reroute of the pipeline away from the planned pipeline tunnel under Lake Oahe near the Standing Rock Reservation. Obama spoke on November 2, saying the Army Corps of Engineers is considering a reroute because of the unrest. But Elders say the project route has already destroyed burial sites and whatever river crossing is chosen, it will still cross the Missouri upstream, potentially affecting the reservation and millions dependent on the river.

Major New Court Ruling Says “Even The President” Can’t Declare Torture Lawful

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

By Alex Emmons for The Intercept – IN A ROBUST RULING in favor of Abu Ghraib detainees, an appellate court ruled Friday that torture is such a clear violation of the law that it is “beyond the power of even the president to declare such conduct lawful.” The ruling from a unanimous panel of judges on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstates a lawsuit against a military contractor for its role in the torture of four men at the notorious prison in Iraq.

The Billion Dollar Ultimatum

Mike McQuade for BuzzFeed News

By Chris Hamby for BuzzFeed News – In a remote tropical forest in Indonesia’s Spice Islands, villagers planned their last stand. A foreign gold-mining company was preparing to gouge out a massive pit from the mountain that had sustained these farmers and fishermen for generations. To protect their way of life, the villagers planned to hike to the summit and refuse to leave.

One Simple Change To Law Could Make Prosecuting Killer Cops Easier

Clevelanders Protest Grand Jury Decision Not To Indict Cops In Tamir Rice Shooting

By Zaid Jilani for The Intercept – GRAPHIC VIDEO ILLUSTRATING gruesome police killings of African-American men in Louisiana and Minnesota has set off promises of a federal investigation, at least in the former case, but many are skeptical that it will lead to any prosecutions. Police involved in even these high-profile cases of abuse have rarely faced successful indictments, let alone prosecutions. However, at the federal level, a simple change to the law would make it more likely that abusive cops face punishment for their behavior.

Alabama Mom’s Charges Are Dropped, But Only After Arduous Battle

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By Nina Martin for Pro Publica – Sixteen months after her arrest, Katie Darovitz — one of at least 500 women prosecuted under Alabama’s toughest-in-the-nation chemical endangerment law — has had her case dismissed. Darovitz’s story, first chronicled by ProPublica last year, was especially wrenching: She has severe epilepsy, and doctors told her that the medications she was using to treat her condition carry a risk of miscarriage and birth defects.

Strikes And Protests Mount Against French Labour Law

Detroit Water shut-off protest sign. Photograph by James Fassinger

By Kumaran Ira for WSWS – As strikes and protests mount across France, social opposition to the unpopular labour reform imposed last week by Socialist party government without a parliamentary vote by using article 49.3 of the French constitution last week, is escalating. The pro-business law allow unions and bosses to negotiate contracts violating France’s Labour Code, lengthen the work week, facilitate mass sackings, and undermine job security for young new hires. Denouncing the PS government’s regressive reforms and anti-democratic method, hundreds of thousands of workers and youth protested the law for the second time this week yesterday.

Louisiana Judge Rules: No Lawyers, No Jail

Mike Steele/ Flickr

By Bill Quigley for Social Justice Advocacy – New Orleans Criminal Court Judge Arthur Hunter, a former police officer, ruled that seven people awaiting trial in jail without adequate legal defense must be released. The law is clear. The US Supreme Court, in their 1963 case Gideon v Wainwright, ruled that everyone who is accused of a crime has a Constitutional right a lawyer at the state’s expense if they cannot afford one. However, Louisiana, in the middle of big budget problems, has been disregarding the constitutional right of thousands of people facing trial in its most recent statewide public defender meltdown

Did Shell’s Failure To Disclose Climate Risks Break The Law?

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By David Hasemyer for Inside Climate News – Three members of Congress have asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether Shell Oil Co. violated securities laws by failing to adequately disclose material business risks from climate change. Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by California Democrat Ted Lieu, said in a letter to the SEC that Shell understood the consequences of climate change and made business decisions based on that knowledge.

Threat To Free Speech: Criminalizing Activism Against Israeli Occupation

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By Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Fishman for The Intercept – THE U.K. Government today announced that it is will be illegal for “local [city] councils, public bodies, and even some university student unions … to refuse to buy goods and services from companies involved in the arms trade, fossil fuels, tobacco products, or Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.” Thus, any entities that support or participate in the global boycott of Israeli settlements will face “severe penalties.”

In Dangerous Precedent, NYPD Moves To Make Resisting Arrest Felony

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By Staff of Mint Press News – On Wednesday, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton urged state legislators to consider increasing the penalty for resisting arrest from a misdemeanor to a felony. The change, he argued, would help New Yorkers “get around this idea that you can resist arrest. You can’t.” It would also give cops an easy way to turn victims of their own worst impulses into the worst class of criminal. In theory, a resisting arrest charge allows the state to further punish suspects who endanger the safety of police officers as they’re being apprehended…

German Judges Slap TTIP Down

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By Ben Knight for DW – The German Magistrates Association (DRB) has delivered a slap in the face to the European Union, by coming out against one of the key planks of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – the special courts allowing investors and corporations to sue national governments if their policies happen to threaten their profits. “The DRB sees neither a legal basis nor a need for such a court,” the association said in a statement issued on Wednesday. The judges added that the assumption that foreign investors currently don’t already enjoy “effective judicial protection” has no “factual basis.”