Category: Brush Pass

A “brush pass” is a quick, clandestine exchange of information in the field. Here’s the raw unanalyzed data and facts behind the stories.

Do body cameras change how police interact with the public?

Police use of force has been heavily scrutinized for more than a year after fatal police encounters with unarmed black men in New York City, Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore and other parts of the U.S. The increased attention has renewed calls for law-enforcement officers to wear video cameras while on duty. Supporters say the devices are needed to provide transparency, build public trust and provide evidence against false complaints. But as more law-enforcement agencies begin using them, questions emerge as to when they should be turned on and off and how much footage should be made available to the public.

In May 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it was providing $20 million in grants to help local and tribal agencies purchase and learn to use body cameras. The grants are part of President Obama’s plan to spend $75 million over three years to buy 50,000 “bod cams” for police organizations. Despite the national push, local law enforcement remains divided over the use of such technology, with some agencies blatantly resisting. Some of the agencies that have tried using them, however, are reporting decreased use of force and fewer complaints from residents. In San Diego, for example, a 2015 report based on preliminary statistics showed that body cameras helped reduce “personal body” force by officers by 46.5%.

Dispatches: Tanzanian High Court Rules Against Child Marriage

In a Victory for Girls’ Rights, Marrying Age Raised to 18

As of today, it is illegal for girls or boys who are younger than 18 to marry in Tanzania.

In a landmark decision, the Tanzanian High Court ruled in favor of protecting girls from the harms of early marriage. The court ruled unconstitutional sections 13 and 17 of the Tanzania Law of Marriage Act, which allow girls to marry at age 15 with parental permission and at age 14 with the permission of a court. The decision represents a critical step forward in the struggle to end child marriage in Tanzania, which has one of the highest rates in the world.

UK Minister ‘Passes Buck’ Over Saudi Police Training During Westminster Debate

The government today refused to answer questions from MPs about its controversial police training programme with Saudi Arabia.

The subject was debated at Westminster following revelations yesterday from the BBC and international human rights organization Reprieve that Britain’s College of Policing is teaching the Saudi Arabian interior ministry high-tech forensic skills – which could be used to identify individuals who later go on to be tortured and sentenced to death.

FCO minister David Lidington MP said today that the police training programme was “clearly a matter that the Home Office leads on”.

However, the project is coordinated through the British Embassy in Riyadh and, according to documents obtained by Reprieve under Freedom of Information, is designed to support UK foreign policy in the Gulf.

Dispatches: Five of the Worst Places for Children

In some countries already devastated by war, the situation for children is only getting worse. A new UN report makes for grim reading, with one shattering statistic after another. The deterioration in five countries – Afghanistan, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Somalia – in 2015 is particularly alarming, especially considering the UN is able to document only a fraction of violations against children.

In Afghanistan, the report says one of every four casualties in 2015 was a child. On average, 53 children are killed every week, as the number of children killed and injured climbed to its highest level since 2008. The number of children recruited as soldiers doubled, and child abductions tripled compared to 2014, with the Taliban responsible for the majority of cases.

Colombia: FARC Guerrilla Pledges to Stop Recruiting Child Soldiers

The Colombian Government and Guerilla Group Also Reach Deal for Release of Members Under 15.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced they will no longer recruit children under 15 years of age to be part of its insurgent group officials announced Sunday, May 15.

The Colombian government and FARC agreed to the discharge of members under 15, in accordance with the peace process taking place in Havana.

Female Suspect Arrested in Albania over Tehran Blast: Iran’s Police

Iran’s Police spokesman said that Interpol has arrested a female member of the terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) in Albania for involvement in a bomb blast at the headquarters of the Islamic Republic Party in Tehran in 1981.

Speaking to the Tasnim News Agency on Sunday, General Saeed Montazer-al-Mahdi said the woman was arrested after she was put on the Interpol’s Red Notice, a warrant that necessitates measures to seek the location and arrest of a person wanted by a judicial jurisdiction or an international tribunal with a view to his or her extradition.

On June 28, 1981, a powerful bomb went off at the headquarters of Iran’s Islamic Republic Party in Tehran, while the members were holding a meeting.

Venezuela’s President Threatens to Seize Factories With Halted Production

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro threatened to seize the country’s factories which are currently not working and put their owners in prison.

The announcement comes after the Polar Group food and beverages producer stopped making beer last month.
“We must take all measures to recover productive capacity, which is being paralyzed by the bourgeoisie. Anyone who wants to halt [production] to sabotage the country should get out, and those who do must be handcuffed and sent to the PGV [Venezuelan General Penitentiary],” Maduro said Saturday as quoted by the BBC.

On Friday, Maduro extended the economic state of emergency in the country for three more months.

6 Ways ISIS Could Attack The UK’s Parliament By Someone Who’s Been Inside

As you’d expect, Parliament has a lot of security including screening and police officers armed with G-13s. But that doesn’t mean Parliament couldn’t become a target for the next terrorist attack. Here are six ways ISIS could attack Parliament.

1. Liquid bombs. A liquid bomb plot at Heathrow Airport was foiled in 2006, which indicates that terrorists previously used this tactic in London, so may well use it again. In the House of Lords, one of Parliament’s two legislative chambers, bottled water is not allowed. However, handbags are allowed in the public gallery and are not searched. A liquid bomb could be concealed in a handbag and simply kicked or rolled through the curtain which adorns the lower part of the House of Lords’ public gallery. The same applies to throwing acid or pouring petrol over the railing then throwing down a match.There is no police presence in the public gallery (if there are plain-clothes police, they are too far away to stop such an act).

2. Mass attack. There are no security measures which would stop terrorists gaining access to the public gallery in several groups. As there is no time limit for watching debates, terrorists could arrive in different groups over a few hours until the public gallery is packed with terrorists. Even if all they did was jump from the gallery and land on top of, or use physical violence against, politicians, the psychological impact on the public would be huge, especially as Lords debates are televised. Terrorism is largely about inducing public fear, so this would be a relevant tactic even if nobody was killed or even seriously injured.

Israel Imposes Restrictions ahead of Nakba Day: Report

Israeli authorities have enforced tough restrictions across the occupied territories as thousands of Palestinians are gearing up to mark the 68th anniversary of the Nakba (Catastrophe) Day.

Nakba refers to the 1948 Palestinian exodus when more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes by Israel during the 1948 Palestine war.

Israel plans to mark the day with celebrations, barring Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip from entering East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

According to the Israeli military, the ban will be imposed as of 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday local time (2200 GMT Tuesday) until midnight (2100 GMT) on Thursday, Press TV reported.

Aleppo Truce Extended by 48 Hours: Syrian Army

A truce in Aleppo in northern Syria between Syrian army and armed opposition forces that was due to expire late Monday has been extended by 48 hours, the army command said.

“The ‘regime of silence’ in Aleppo and its province has been extended by 48 hours from Tuesday 01:00 am (local time) to midnight on Wednesday,” a statement early Tuesday said.

The temporary truce, initially for two days and then prolonged until Tuesday at 00:01 am (21:01 GMT Monday), was decided after fighting killed nearly 300 people since April 22 in Aleppo, where some areas are held by opposition and others by government forces.

Gasoline Shortage Looms in Oil-Producing Venezuela

Venezuelans have yet another hardship to overcome in trying to survive the country’s economic crisis, as it was announced Monday, May 9 that the El Palito Refinery — the main supplier of fuel in Venezuela — has halted operations with less than 10 days of inventory remaining.

The newspaper La Verdad reported that the stoppage will last 45 to 60 days.

Executive Secretary for the United Federation of Oil Workers Rober González told the newspaper that Venezuelan refineries may have been sabotaged by some contractors and managers.

Bahrain Sentences 3 Protesters to Life in Prison

Six others were handed 10 years in jail on Thursday each for their role in the unrest, General Prosecutor Ahmed al-Hammadi said.

The nine were tried for attempted murder of police officers, possessing explosives and participating in clashes in March 2014, Hammadi said, AFP reported.

Bahrain last month sentenced eight people to life in jail allegedly for “terrorism” and violence against security forces in January last year.

The tiny Persian Gulf state has been shaken by unrest since it quelled a popular uprising demanding reforms in 2011.

The kingdom, connected to Saudi Arabia by a causeway, lies across the Persian Gulf from Iran and is home to the US Fifth Fleet.

Hungry Venezuelan Soldiers Steal Goats amid Food Shortages

The Venezuelan military’s reputation has been considerably worsened after its involvement in criminal acts that have taken place in one rural area this Sunday. On May 1, six army officials were arrested for stealing goats from a nearby farm.

The arrest happened in Lara in the Central region of the country when the police noticed an unmarked van, which they later discovered was transporting dead animals.

According to local media reporting, the military officials were interrogated and not only admitted to the crime, but argued they had no choice because they were without food at Fort Manaure.

Hungry Venezuelans Hunt Dogs, Cats, Pigeons as Food Runs Out

Ramón Muchacho, Mayor of Chacao in Caracas, said the streets of the capital of Venezuela are filled with people killing animals for food.

Through Twitter, Muchacho reported that in Venezuela, it is a “painful reality” that people “hunt cats, dogs and pigeons” to ease their hunger.

People are also reportedly gathering vegetables from the ground and trash to eat as well.

The crisis in Venezuela is worsening everyday due in part to shortages reaching 70 percent. This to go along with the world’s highest level of inflation.

IS launches major offensive on Peshmerga positions

The militants of the Islamic State (IS) launched a major offensive on locations of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces on several fronts in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, military sources said on Tuesday.

Kurdish military sources pointed out that the jihadists carried out several car bomb attacks on the Peshmerga positions in the areas of Telskuf, Ba’shiqah, Khazar and Kweir, adding the Peshmerga forces were able to deter the IS attacks.

IS tries to breach defenses of the Kurdish forces in the vicinity of Mosul, northern Iraq, especially after the US-led coalition forces inflicted the group with heavy losses in its ranks.