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A Failed Policy? Boston Debates the War on Drugs
Boston, Massachusetts, USA - "We have a public policy crisis: we are spending billions of dollars to fight a war on drugs and we don't seem to be able to stop the flow of drugs into this country. We are spending more and more public dollars on housing men and women who are involved with the drug trade, drug addiction seems to be increasing, and yet we don't seem to have the money to help those who want to turn their lives around and recover from addiction." With these words, Boston City Councillor Chuck Turner started the public hearing to investigate the war on drugs. He called the hearing "just the beginning of a long dialogue in Boston to see how we can move forward".
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19 Nov 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Politics : Social Welfare
Boston Death Sparks Call For Less-Than-Lethal Weapons Moratorium
riot.jpgControversial Weapons Increase Violence, Despite Police Claims.

Boston - On Thursday, November 4, the Boston Area Faculty Group on Public Issues, the National Lawyers Guild and the Save Our Civil Liberties (SOCL) Campaign issued a public demand for an immediate moratorium on police use of so-called “non-lethal” and “less-lethal” weapons. The press conference, held at the Emerson College campus, highlighted the recent death of Victoria Snelgrove during a Red Sox celebration as an example of the misuse of less lethal weapons by local, state and federal law enforcement around the country.
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05 Nov 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights
Report: 3% of Black men in Massachusetts disenfranchised
This is the first presidential election since Massachusetts prisoners were stripped of the right to vote. The effected population is disproportionately Black. More than 3% of Black men in Massachusetts are denied the right to vote.
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02 Nov 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Politics : Race
Seymour Hersh Speaks in Boston, Predicts Possible Pre-election Falluja Attack
hersh.jpgSeymour Hersh spoke to an almost capacity crowd Friday night at the Ford Hall Forum in Faniuel Hall promoting his new book, Chain of Command. The book details the connections between Abu Ghraib and Donald Rumsfeld via the Pentagon. But the terrible actions committed at Abu Ghraib served only as a background for a speech peppered with warnings, predictions, and revelations about the current US administration.
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01 Nov 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : International : Media
Less-Than-Lethal?
fn_ll_303_r.gifPepperBall guns, Bean Bag Projectiles and Tasers, seem to be a good idea at first. They have been used to take down knife wielding hostage holders and neutralize would be suicide victims all over the country. They give officers a chance to leave their guns in the holster and defuse dangerous situations without killing.

In these situations the risk to life and limb is very real and there is a compelling logic to their use, even a fairly good record to back it up. A certain number of violent criminals have died as a result of bean-bags, pepper spray, and Tasers, but without less than lethal weapons, a gun would be used, and a death would be more likely.

But according to studies of some police departments, more than half of the people who end up on the business end of non-lethal weapons are not criminals, and over 80% are not threatening officers or the public with weapons of their own. That was definitely the case Thursday when a Boston Police Officer fired a FN Herstall model 303 pepper ball gun into a crowd of celebrating Red Sox fans, killing 21 year old Victoria Snelgrove. The Boston Globe reported only that a bottle was smashed near the police, who were wearing full riot gear at the time.

The police are trained to maintain a code of conduct regardless of the conduct of others. One would expect an officer of the law to exercise restraint when wielding a weapon capable of deadly force. Yet, in the case of "less-than lethal" weapons, such a policy simply isn't there.
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23 Oct 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Technology
Photo Project Shows the “Aftermath” of War and Ethnic Cleansing in Bosnia Years Later
LADYREFLECTEXUME.jpgSara Terry’s photo project, “Aftermath: Bosnia’s Long Road to Peace” is currently on display in the Babst Library at Boston College. Terry, a former staff-writer for the Christian Science Monitor, flew to Bosnia back in 2000 after being discouraged by the Western media’s lack of interest in the re-stabilization of Bosnia as people began to return to their communities and repair what was left of the past. Although there were many memorable pieces of photo documentation taken during the height of the war and atrocities in Bosnia, where it's said the largest mass-killing in Europe since World War 2 occurred, nobody seemed to stick around to show the effects of those atrocities. There wasn’t much interest in the harsh endeavors the people of Bosnia faced, post-war and “ethnic cleansing”. This is what distinguishes "Aftermath" from other collections of photojournalism to emerge out of this conflict, or most other conflicts for that matter.
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17 Oct 2004 | Filed under: Review / Human Rights : International : Media
Indy Media's Hardware is Returned, but Many Questions Remain
imclogo2.gifOn Wednesday, October 13th, Indymedia's seized hardware was mysteriously returned in the same way it disappeared -- without any information provided as to who took it or why, and on whose orders. An employee at Rackspace, the U.S.-based web hosting company that handed over Indymedia's disks to the U.S. government on 7 October, emailed an Indymedia volunteer to say that the disks were returned and that "the court order is being complied with... I will pass along any more information that becomes available and that I am allowed to."
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15 Oct 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : International : Media : Technology
MBTA Bag Search Policy Still in Effect
tprot.jpgAccording to the Press Secretary for the MBTA, Joe Tesaturo, The Globe article “MBTA HALTS BAGGAGE SCREENING” is in fact not entirely truthful. The MBTA has not officially ended the bag search policy, and although the MBTA will not say when, where, or if bag searches will continue, they may begin again at any time. “Our security screening policy remains in place,” said Mr. Tesaturo, “If you look carefully at the globe article, nowhere in it does it say that the MBTA has officially ended the policy.”
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26 Aug 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights
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