We begin with the obvious from United Press International:
No charges for Ferguson officer in death of Michael Brown
- The officer could have faced one of five charges ranging from first-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter
A grand jury decided Monday not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown in August.
St. Louis County, Mo., prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced the 12-member grand jury made its decision after two days of deliberation.
“They determined that no probable cause exists to file any charge against Officer Wilson,” McCulloch said.
The announcement was made at 9:25 p.m. as crowds gathered outside the Ferguson Police Department, at McCulloch’s offices in the county seat of Clayton and on West Flourisant Street, where Brown died.
The New York Times covers the inevitable:
From Plains to Both Coasts, Fury Boils Over
Months of anger and frustration, in the end, led only to more anger and frustration.
There were smoke bombs, tear gas and random gunshots. But in Ferguson, the aftermath of the shooting death of Michael Brown was almost as bitter and hollow as his killing itself.
Brien Redmon, 31, stood in the cold watching a burning police car and sporadic looting after the announcement that there would be no indictments for Mr. Brown’s death at 18.
“This is not about vandalizing,” he said. “This is about fighting a police organization that doesn’t care about the lives they serve.”
More from Al Jazeera America:
Gunfire and flames after officer cleared in Ferguson teen’s shooting death
Police, protesters clash in Ferguson after grand jury does not not indict white policeman who killed unarmed black teen
[W]ithin minutes of the announcement, crowds began pouring into Ferguson streets to protest the decision. Some taunted police, shattered windows and vandalized cars. As many as 15 gunshots were also heard, though it’s unclear whether they came from law enforcement authorities or protesters. Officers released smoke and pepper spray to disperse the gatherings. The storefront glass of at least two businesses were also broken on South Florissant Road. Fires erupted.
Well before the grand jury decision was announced, hundreds of protesters were already massed near the Ferguson police department. Shortly after McCulloch said Wilson would not be indicted, police streamed out of the station wearing riot helmets, and carrying batons and shields. Some of the protesters began throwing plastic bottles at the officer. Police fired what differing reports have described as either smoke or tear gas.
Thousands of protesters also gathered in downtown Manhattan, where they marched from Union Square to Times Square.
Closer to home with the San Francisco Chronicle:
Ferguson ruling sparks Oakland protest that shuts down freeway
Sorrow and anger over the decision by a grand jury in Missouri not to indict a white police officer in the killing of an unarmed black man sent demonstrators into the streets in the Bay Area, with hundreds of people shutting down Interstate 580 in Oakland for hours.
From Oakland and Berkeley to San Francisco and San Jose, crowds massed to denounce the lack of criminal charges in the shooting in Ferguson, Mo., marching and chanting slogans against what they considered racial injustice. Civic leaders echoed President Obama’s call for peaceful demonstrations, but the mood of the crowds gave the gatherings the air of a tinderbox.
The most tense and disruptive action unfolded in Oakland, where hundreds of protesters marched downtown, blocking intersections before surging onto I-580 via the Lakeshore Avenue offramp around 8 p.m. There they played cat-and-mouse with police for hours, stopping traffic in both directions before being forced off the freeway by lines of officers in riot gear.
Another California story, via the Los Angeles Times:
Michael Brown protesters scatter as LAPD uses nonlethal
Demonstrators protesting the killing of Michael Brown were dispersed shortly near downtown Los Angeles after midnight Tuesday by Los Angeles police officers using non-lethal projectiles.
The demonstrators, who at one point numbered more than 300, marched across Los Angeles on Monday night, briefly closing the 110 Freeway as they protested a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer in the controversial shooting of the black teenager.
The main group marched to USC and then towards the Staples Center, where confrontations with police grew tense. A group of protesters pushed at a fence that blocked off a hill that led to the 110 Freeway and knocked it over. People streamed over the fallen gate and climbed onto the freeway and sat down, shutting down traffic on the freeway. About 150 protesters gathered on the road and chanted “No justice, no peace. No racist police!”
And before the verdict, an abysmal quotation, from teleSUR:
St. Louis Cop Association: It’s Like ‘Night Before Christmas’
The head of the St. Louis County Police Officers’ Association has been criticized for comparing the situation to Christmas.
While many observers have warned the situation Monday is tense in St Louis County ahead of the widely anticipated grand jury decision on police officer Darren Wilson, one man thinks a little differently.
“It’s just like the night before Christmas,” said St. Louis County Police Officers’ Association president, Gabe Crocker.
“We all get a little excited, we all get a little impatient, and so on, and so forth,” Crocker told CNN.
On to another “police action” also generating outrage, via the Guardian:
41 men targeted but 1,147 people killed: US drone strikes – the facts on the ground
- New analysis of data conducted by human rights group Reprieve shared with the Guardian, raises questions about accuracy of intelligence guiding ‘precise’ strikes
A new analysis of the data available to the public about drone strikes, conducted by the human-rights group Reprieve, indicates that even when operators target specific individuals – the most focused effort of what Barack Obama calls “targeted killing” – they kill vastly more people than their targets, often needing to strike multiple times. Attempts to kill 41 men resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,147 people, as of 24 November.
Reprieve, sifting through reports compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, examined cases in which specific people were targeted by drones multiple times. Their data, shared with the Guardian, raises questions about the accuracy of US intelligence guiding strikes that US officials describe using words like “clinical” and “precise.”
The analysis is a partial estimate of the damage wrought by Obama’s favored weapon of war, a tool he and his administration describe as far more precise than more familiar instruments of land or air power.
“Drone strikes have been sold to the American public on the claim that they’re ‘precise’. But they are only as precise as the intelligence that feeds them. There is nothing precise about intelligence that results in the deaths of 28 unknown people, including women and children, for every ‘bad guy’ the US goes after,” said Reprieve’s Jennifer Gibson, who spearheaded the group’s study.
From the Los Angeles Times, the deplorable:
Jordan sending refugees back into Syria, Human Rights Watch says
Jordan has sent Syrian refugees, including wounded civilians and unaccompanied minors, back across the border in violation of international responsibilities, Human Rights Watch said Monday.
The New York-based monitor issued a statement accusing Jordan of ignoring long-accepted principles forbidding governments from returning people back to areas where their lives may be in danger.
There was no immediate response from officials in Jordan, now home to more than 600,000 Syrian refugees.
And from South China Morning Post, we always like a pun in the headline:
It’s time to chuck Hagel: Obama pressures Pentagon chief into stepping down
- Pentagon chief resigns under pressure, paving way for first female defence secretary
US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down under pressure from President Barack Obama’s Cabinet, senior administration officials said, following a tenure in which he has struggled to break through the White House’s insular foreign policy team.
Hagel is the first senior Obama adviser to leave the administration following the sweeping losses for Obama’s party in the midterm elections. It comes as the president’s national security team has been battered by multiple foreign policy crises, include the rise of Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.
At a White House ceremony Obama said Hagel had been an “exemplary” defence secretary, adding: “Last month, Chuck came to me to discuss the final quarter of my presidency and determined that, having guided the department through this transition, it was an appropriate time for him to complete his service.”
From New York Times, delayed again:
U.S. and Allies Extend Iran Nuclear Talks by 7 Months
A yearlong effort to reach an enduring accord with Iran to dismantle large parts of its nuclear infrastructure fell short on Monday, forcing the United States and its allies to declare a seven-month extension, but with no clear indication of how they plan to bridge fundamental differences.
In a news conference hours before a deadline on Monday night, Secretary of State John Kerry said a series of “new ideas surfaced” in the last several days of talks. He added that “we would be fools to walk away,” because a temporary agreement curbing Iran’s program would remain in place while negotiations continued. In return, Iran will receive another $5 billion in sanctions relief, enabling it to recover money frozen abroad — something that is likely to add to the threat of new sanctions from the newly-elected Republican Congress.
But the fundamental problem remained: Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has yet to signal that he is prepared to make the kind of far-reaching cuts in Iran’s enrichment capability that would be required to seal an accord. And it is unclear that his view will change before a March 1 deadline for reaching a political agreement, the first phase in the seven-month extension.
From the Guardian, Chuckie’s missives:
Prince Charles letters: minister’s veto of publication was lawful, court told
- Supreme court hears QC James Eadie open the government’s latest effort in its nine-year campaign to keep the letters secret
The prince has gained a reputation for writing private letters to government ministers promoting his views. The letters have been called “black spider memos” because of his scrawled handwriting.?
At issue in the supreme court hearing are 27 letters exchanged between the heir to the throne and ministers in seven Whitehall departments between September 2004 and April 2005.?
Three judges in a freedom of information tribunal ruled in 2012 that the letters should be disclosed, on the basis that the public was entitled to know how and when the prince sought to influence government.?
Grieve, however, used his power of veto to overrule the tribunal, arguing that publication would seriously damage Charles’s future role as king. He said the letters had to be kept secret to preserve the prince’s political neutrality.?
From the Guardian again, the past returns to haunt:
Amnesty urges Ireland to reopen hooded men case against UK
- European court of human rights cleared UK of torture in 1978 but recent film alleges some evidence was withheld
Amnesty International has challenged the Irish government to take the UK back to the European court of human rights (ECHR) over the British security forces’ alleged torture of suspects during the Troubles.
The court ruled in 1978 that five interrogation techniques used on 14 men who were detained without trial in the early 1970s constituted inhuman and degrading treatment but not torture.
The techniques included hooding suspects, putting them into stress positions, sleep deprivation, food and water deprivation and the use of white noise. The 14 became known as the hooded men.
In June this year an RTE documentary alleged that the UK withheld evidence from the court, which Amnesty argues may have affected the outcome of the case. It also called on the UK to launch an independent investigation.
While Network World looks an panopticon enhancements coming:
UK plans to introduce new Web snooping law
A U.K. counterterrorism bill would require ISPs to retain IP addresses in order to identify individual users of Internet services.
The proposed law is meant to bridge a “capabilities gap” that authorities face when trying to obtain communications data, said U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May, who introduced the bill, in a speech on Monday.
The measures will build on emergency legislation that the U.K. introduced during the summer, May said, who added that “it is not a knee-jerk response to a sudden perceived threat.”
From Network World, closer to home panopticon posturning closer to home:
NSA privacy director defends agency’s surveillance
The U.S. National Security Agency’s surveillance programs are legal and under close scrutiny by other parts of the government, the agency’s internal privacy watchdog said Monday in an online Q&A.
NSA surveillance and data collection programs conform to the U.S. Constitution, Rebecca Richards, the agency’s first civil liberties and privacy director, wrote during an hour-plus Q&A on Tumblr.
The NSA operates under rules that “ensure that its activities fall within the parameters of the Constitution,” Richards wrote when asked why she believes the surveillance programs are constitutional.
Techdirt captures contradiction:
NSA Chief Warns Of Pending Cyberattack… Which He Wants To Make Easier With Backdoors
- from the ridiculous dept
NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers has often seemed somewhat more reasonable than his predecessor, but he’s still not above spewing FUD. The latest is that, last week, he pulled out the favorite of surveillance state supporters everywhere: the pending cyberpocalypse, in which hackers take down the economy. Prepare for the “dramatic cyberattack” that is inevitably on the way:
The director of the National Security Agency issued a warning Thursday about cyberthreats emerging from other countries against networks running critical U.S. infrastructure systems.
Adm. Michael Rogers said he expects a major cyberattack against the U.S. in the next decade. “It’s only a matter of the ‘when,’ not the ‘if,’ that we are going to see something dramatic,” he said.
Of course, as venture capitalist/entrepreneur Marc Andreessen pointed out in response, the best way to stop that from happening would be to not require that software have backdoors that can easily be hacked.
After the jump, the Dutch get aggressive over privacy protection, Uncle Sam linked to the latest complex malware, malware in your E-cigs, more complications for the kidnapped Colombian general, incendiary institutionalized Israeli discrimination draws nigh, Pakistan’s nuclear program accelerates, Thai editor jailed for lèse majesté, cops prepare for Hong Kong Occupy eviction, Beijing ups the surveillance ante, Predictions of heightened tension in the insular Game fo Zones, hints of a Chinese supersonic drone, rising tensions over basing on a growing Chinese island with U.S. objections spurned, South Korea stages a challenge to a Japanese island claim, a clue as to some of what the island game is about, more criticism of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s militarization push, and a lawsuit over French nuclear tests in the Pacific. . . Continue reading