MALL OF AMERICA SECURITY CATFISHED BLACK LIVES MATTER ACTIVISTS, DOCUMENTS SHOW

(by Lee Fang || @lhfang)

Documents obtained by The Intercept indicate that security staff at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota used a fake Facebook account to monitor local Black Lives Matter organizers, befriend them, and obtain their personal information and photographs without their knowledge.

Evidence of the fake Facebook account was found in a cache of files provided by the Mall of America to Bloomington officials after a large Black Lives Matter event at the mall on December 20 protesting police brutality. The files included briefs on individual organizers, with screenshots that suggest that much of the information was captured using a Facebook account for a person named “Nikki Larson.”

Metadata from some of the documents lists the software that created them as belonging to “Sam Root” at the “Mall of America.” A Facebook account for a Sam Root lists his profession as “Intelligence Analyst at Mall of America.”

The fake Larson account featured a profile photo that a Google reverse image search shows is identical to a photo associated with a woman who is Facebook friends with Root.

The account, previously found at this url, was deleted soon after The Intercept contacted the Mall of America for this story.

On December 11, as news of the planned Black Lives Matter protest began to spread, the “Nikki Larson” account was updated with a banner image of an (apocryphal) Martin Luther King Jr. quote: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” At some point, the Larson account “liked” the Black Lives Matter Minneapolis Facebook group.

After the December 20 protest, the city charged 11 protesters with six different criminal misdemeanors. The city and mall are seeking over $65,000 in restitution for police and mall expenses.

Information collected from Facebook was used by the Mall of America security team to build dossiers on each activist. A document on Nekima Levy-Pounds, one of the activists charged by the city, includes screen grabs of  her Facebook account. Levy-Pounds, professor of law at the University of St. Thomas, told The Intercept that the Larson account befriended her in December.

Another dossier profiling activist Lena Gardner contains pictures, a timeline listing where to spot her in videos from the protest taken by protestors and by Mall of America security, as well as information scraped from her social media accounts. Similar documents were created for at least eight other activists.

The Larson account appears to have been created in 2009, and had 817 friends, many of whose pages showed they were involved in Minnesota political activism. The account also “liked” Facebook groups associated with Ferguson activists, the American Indian Movement Interpretive Center, Occupy Minneapolis, SumOfUs, the SEIU Minnesota State Council, and Communities United Against Police Brutality, among others.

(Read the complete article via TheIntercept  ↳ here)

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Money is speech, dollars have more influence than people — it’s time to be honest about the plutocracy we live in

From the financial crisis of 2008 to the present era of political paralysis, the path to democratic reform has been blocked at every turn. Between Wall Street and Washington, Congress and the courts, statehouses and city halls, the will of the many has been subordinated to the will of the few (as it has been, sadly, for much of our history as a nation). As study after study has shown, politicians are far more attuned to the whims of the wealthy than they are to the will of the other 99 percent. A recent analysis of 1,779 policy outcomes by two leading political scientists found that, in the United States today, “the majority does not rule,” and that, “when a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites…they generally lose,” causing the authors to question the claim that ours is a democratic society.

American capitalism is incompatible with true democracy. 

  • nature:*does like one million groundbreaking shit during the day that can be applied to aid humanity's survival and relationship with it*
  • corporations:i got it we'll smash the earth, contaminating it a bit to get some energy
  • corporations:heres something cool lets literally throw our compiled trash into the oceans
  • corporations:wow have you ever thought about going to another planet and living like this there too? what a time
  • nature:no like check me out, I can show you how to live right if you study m-
  • corporations:but when profit now?

Follow the money:

1.) Police Unions: Police departments across the country have become dependent on federal drug war grants to finance their budget. In March, we published a story revealing that a police union lobbyist in California coordinated the effort to defeat Prop 19, a ballot measure in 2010 to legalize marijuana, while helping his police department clients collect tens of millions in federal marijuana-eradication grants. And it’s not just in California. Federal lobbying disclosures show that other police union lobbyists have pushed for stiffer penalties for marijuana-related crimes nationwide.

2.) Private Prisons Corporations: Private prison corporations make millions by incarcerating people who have been imprisoned for drug crimes, including marijuana. As Republic Report’s Matt Stoller noted last year, Corrections Corporation of America, one of the largest for-profit prison companies, revealed in a regulatory filing that continuing the drug war is part in parcel to their business strategy. Prison companies have spent millions bankrolling pro-drug war politicians and have used secretive front groups, like the American Legislative Exchange Council, to pass harsh sentencing requirements for drug crimes.

3.) Alcohol and Beer Companies: Fearing competition for the dollars Americans spend on leisure, alcohol and tobacco interests have lobbied to keep marijuana out of reach. For instance, the California Beer & Beverage Distributors contributed campaign contributions to a committee set up to prevent marijuana from being legalized and taxed.

4.) Pharmaceutical Corporations: Like the sin industries listed above, pharmaceutical interests would like to keep marijuana illegal so American don’t have the option of cheap medical alternatives to their products. Howard Wooldridge, a retired police officer who now lobbies the government to relax marijuana prohibition laws, told Republic Report that next to police unions, the “second biggest opponent on Capitol Hill is big PhRMA” because marijuana can replace “everything from Advil to Vicodin and other expensive pills.”

5.) Prison Guard Unions: Prison guard unions have a vested interest in keeping people behind bars just like for-profit prison companies. In 2008, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association spent a whopping $1 million to defeat a measure that would have “reduced sentences and parole times for nonviolent drug offenders while emphasizing drug treatment over prison.”

1. American Corporations Are Partly Responsible for the Sale of Human Beings 

Horace Greeley, Editor of the New York Tribune and an abolitionist, described a slave auction: “The negroes were examined with as little consideration as if they had been brutes indeed; the buyers pulling their mouths open to see their teeth, pinching their limbs to find how muscular they were, walking them up and down to detect any signs of lameness, making them stoop and bend in different ways that they might be certain there was no concealed rupture or wound.”

2. American Corporations Are Partly Responsible for the First Vagrancy Laws 

These are the Pig Laws of a century or more ago, which penalized trivial – sometimes nonexistent – offenses, in a similar manner as the Broken Windows policies employed today. A ‘vagrancy’ offense got 22-year-old Green Cottenham arrested in 1908.

3. American Corporations Are Partly Responsible for WW2 Slave Labor 

Slave labor in the Nazi years generated massive profits for many of our most prominent corporations.

4. American Corporations Are Partly Responsible for Today’s Deadening Racial Oppression 

They may not be the mine shafts of Tennessee Coal, but modern private prisons such as Corrections Corporation of America and G4S generate massive profitsselling inmate labor to corporations like Chevron, Bank of America, AT&T, and IBM. Nearly a million prisoners work in factories and call centers for as little as 17 cents an hour.

Corporate America is scum.

The idea is that since the main goal of all private corporations is to make money, they’ll be much more willing than the government is to cut costs and eliminate waste. The result, conservatives and libertarians say, will be more efficient, responsible, and responsive services. That’s the theory, at least. In reality, privatization of public services has been a total disaster wherever it’s been tried. And, as a new report from the Center for Media and Democracy shows, it’s also created huge opportunities for fraud and corruption. The report, which was released today and is titled “Pay to Prey,” focuses on how Republican governors in states all across the country used the cover of privatization to enrich campaign donors and political cronies. The worst culprits include some the biggest names in Republican politics.

I wonder how many people don’t know that long before he was appointed to the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts was a critic of the Voting Rights Act for 30 years. When he was in his late 20s, Roberts was a foot soldier in Ronald Reagan's crusade against the Voting Rights Act.

Having Roberts preside over any civil rights cases —like the Voting Rights Act and Affirmative Action— makes about as much sense as having Clarence Thomas being involved in cases with his former employer, Monsanto.

[…]

Moving on to crony capitalism and the  making of an oligarchy…the Roberts court has not only ruled decidedly against civil rights cases which are disproportionately detrimental to Black people, they have also reliably ruled in favor of big business more often than not.

Even the average politico can’t be expected to remember the make up of SCOTUS from one chief justice to the next, but I can’t help believing that if there’s any modicum of true justice in the world, the Roberts court and Roberts himself will ultimately be remembered by history as having been uniquely harmful to America and democracy writ large.

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(photos via msnbc.com and theusconstitution.org)