Saturday, November 26, 2011

How many of these soldiers will return and get jobs as police?

Mexico activists seek ICC investigation of drugs war

Marines patrol the streets of Veracruz on 6 October 2011

Mexican activists have asked the International Criminal Court to investigate President Felipe Calderon over the torture and killing of civilians in the war on drugs.
A petition signed by more than 18,000 people also asks the ICC to investigate Mexico's most-wanted drugs lord, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.
The Mexican government has denied the accusations of crimes against humanity.
It says its security policy cannot constitute an international crime.
Human rights lawyer Netzai Sandoval filed a complaint with the ICC in the Hague, asking it to investigate the deaths of hundreds of civilians at the hands of the security forces and drugs gangs, as well as alleged torture and rape.
"The violence in Mexico is bigger than the violence in Afghanistan, and bigger than the violence in Colombia," Mr Sandoval told Reuters news agency.
"We want the prosecutor to tell us if war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Mexico, and if the president and other top officials are responsible".
The office of the prosecutor said it had received the request and would study it and make a decision in due course.
Rule of law
The Mexican government responded to the complaint when the petition was launched in October.
"The federal government categorically rejects that security policy could be considered an international crime," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
"In our country society is not victim of an authoritarian government or of systematic abuses by the armed forces," it added.
"Mexico has a rule of law under which crime and impunity are fought without exceptions".
The government also stressed its commitment to human rights and responsibility to protect its citizens from criminal violence.
Mexico is a signatory to the 2002 Statute of Rome that established the ICC as the world's first permanent international war crimes court.
The ICC investigates and tries cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity in countries that are unwilling or unable to prosecute them on their own.
Most of its cases are initiated after referral by the country involved or the UN Security Council, but the prosecutor's office can also start investigations on its own initiative on the basis of information received from individuals or organisations.
So far, all its cases have been in Africa, but the prosecutor's office has begun preliminary examinations in other countries including Afghanistan, Colombia, Honduras and Korea.
Correspondents say any decision to begin an investigation into alleged crimes in Mexico could take months or even years to reach.
More than 40,000 Mexicans have died in drug-related violence since December 2006, when President Calderon began using the military to combat the drug cartels.
Many of the dead are thought to be members of the gangs, killed by the security forces or in clashes with rival groups, but there have also been a growing number of civilian casualties.
Last month a report by Human Rights Watch found evidence that the Mexican police and military were involved in 24 killings and 39 disappearances in five states, as well as systematic torture.
It said few of the cases it documented were properly investigated, in part because Mexican soldiers are subject only to military courts.

Kansas Governor uses State Resources in attempt to Censor Twitter Teen

Kansas governor tattles on teen's rude tweet

The governor of Kansas faced an online trashing Friday for tattling on a teenaged girl who sent out a critical tweet during a visit to the state capitol.
Emma Sullivan, 18, was hauled into her principal's office and ordered to write letters of apology after one of Governor Sam Brownback's office contacted the tour organizer to complain about the offending note on the social networking site Twitter.
"Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot," Sullivan wrote, despite not saying anything to Brownback during the visit -- she said she wrote it to get a laugh out of her friends.
The principal "laid into me about how this was unacceptable and an embarrassment," Sullivan later told the Wichita Eagle.
"He said I had created this huge controversy and everyone was up in arms about it... and now he had to do damage control."
Sullivan had just 60 followers on Twitter when she wrote the offending note Monday. Two days later her story hit the local news ahead of the generally slow Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
By Friday morning, she was on CNN discussing the issue of censorship and free speech.
A lively discussion filled a dedicated Facebook page. Nearly 1,300 new people signed up to follow her Twitter feed, which until that point had been primarily devoted to her thoughts on the Twilight series and other typical teen musings.
"I'm mainly shocked that they would even see that tweet and be concerned about me," Sullivan -- who did not immediately return a request for comment -- told the paper Wednesday.
"I just honestly feel they're making a lot bigger deal out of it than it actually was."
Brownback's office regularly monitors social media for references to the Republican governor to see what his constituents are saying about him, spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag told the Eagle.
His secretary forwarded a copy of the tweet to organizers of the school-sponsored event "so that they were aware what their students were saying in regards to the governor's appearance," she said.
"We just felt it was appropriate for the organizers to be aware... because of what was said in the tweet."
Brownback's office did not immediately return a request for comment Friday.
Sullivan's school was closed for the holiday, but a spokeswoman for the Shawnee Mission school district told the Eagle that officials would look into the incident on Monday.
While it became an embarrassment for her school, the heavy-handed reaction was garnering most of the criticism online.
"Good for you! How a 'small government' governor can use state resources to harass you is beyond me," one commentator wrote on Sullivan's Facebook page.
"In general," spokeswoman Leigh Anne Neal said in an e-mail "students on school-sponsored field trips, in which they are representing the school, would be expected to conduct themselves in accordance with school district policies, including use of electronic devices.
"Students may express their personal beliefs, views, and opinions, as long as they do so appropriately and in accordance with school policies."

Retired NY Supreme Court Justice Karen Smith Roughed up by Cops for Intervening in Brutal Beating of ‘Occupy’ Protester’s Mom

A retired New York state Supreme Court justice was shoved into a wall by NYPD officers after she intervened in an attempt to stop officers from brutally beating the mother of an ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protester on Tuesday morning.
Judge Karen Smith told Democracy Now! that she was working as a legal observer for the National Lawyers Guild, immediately identifiable as such by her day-glo neon green hat, when she witnessed a shocking incident of police brutality.
Judge Smith (Photo: NY State Unified Court System)

“I was there to take down the names of people who were arrested,” she explained. “As I’m standing there, an African-American woman goes up to a police officer and says, ‘I need to get in. My daughter’s there, I want to know if she is OK.’ And he said, ‘Move on, lady,’ and they kept pushing with their sticks, pushing back and she was crying… he throws her to the ground and starts hitting her in the head.”
Smith knew she had to do something to stop the horrific attack.
“I walk over and I say, ‘Look, cuff her if she’s done something, but you don’t need to do that.’ He said, ‘lady, you want to get arrested?’ I said, ‘Do you see my hat? I’m here as a legal observer.’ He said, ‘Do you want to get arrested?’ and he pushed me up against the wall.”
Sadly, such brutality is all too common across the nation as police resort to heavy-handed tactics to deal with overwhelmingly peaceful ‘Occupy’ protesters. In Seattle, 84-year-old Dorli Rainey, a former mayoral candidate who stands all but 4’10″ (1.47 m), was attacked with chemical weapons on Monday. She wasn’t alone; a priest and a pregnant teen were among the many peaceful protesters who were pepper sprayed. The pregnant girl required hospitalization.
“My problem is not only with police brutality, it is with the progressive getting worse attitude of the police,” Rainey, who grew up in Nazi Germany, told Democracy Now!  ”I was tear-gassed… in Seattle when the WTO was there in Seattle. And I also was in a workshop with Arundhati Roy when she was in Seattle for theWTO. These locations, while they were pretty violent outside, were not nearly as bad as what we see now. It is getting progressively worse. Our freedoms are getting curtailed. And I just listened to the press being banned at Wall Street—this in a country where we export our sort of democracy all over the world at gunpoint.”
Rainey appeared on Current TV’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann last night, where she said implored people to stand up for what’s right and to ”take one more step out of your comfort zone.” “It would be so easy to say, ‘Well I’m going to retire, I’m going to sit around, watch television or eat bonbons,’ but somebody’s got to keep ’em awake and let ’em know what is really going on in this world,” she said.
No one is immune from police brutality as the ruling class circles the wagons and dispatches its gatekeepers (the police) to crush the ‘Occupy’ uprising. No one. Not old ladies, not military veterans who fought the one percent’s wars against poor people in far-flung lands. On two separate occasions, two War on Terror vets were hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after police in Oakland, California violently attacked ‘Occupy’ demonstrators. On October 25, former Marine and Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen was shot by a police projectile that fractured his skull and sent him to the intensive care unit with a swollen brain. Days later, Kayvan Sabehgi, a former Army Ranger and veteran of both the Iraq and Afghan wars, was brutally beaten by police in downtown Oakland. He ended up on the operating table with a lacerated spleen after being denied proper medical attention for the better part of an entire day.
Nearby, peaceful and unarmed students at the University of California, Berkeley were attacked by riot police on their own campus.
It’s not just protesters who have been brutalized and arrested. New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez was beaten bloody and arrested at Tuesday’s violent ‘Occupy Wall Street’ eviction in Lower Manhattan. Also arrested was Paul Newell, the Democratic District Leader for New York’s 64th Assembly District.

And chillingly, journalists have also been targeted for beatings and arrest for nothing more than doing their jobs. NYPD officers told reporters that “you’re not press tonight” as they roughed up and arrested employees of NPR, theNew York Times, the New York Post, NBC and other outlets big and small after the powers-that-be decided to black out media access to the Zuccotti Park/Liberty Square eviction site.
This blatant disregard for First Amendment rights to freedom of speech, assembly and the press is highly disturbing, to say the least. But rather than dissuade demonstrators, concerned citizens and the media from carrying on or covering the ‘Occupy’ phenomenon, police-state tactics will only embolden and enlarge the movement. After all, it was after Americans saw images of civil rights and peace activists being savagely attacked by police in the 1960s that public opinion turned in favor of those movements.

Political Theater Interrupted:For Profit Mayor Villaraigosa and for Profit Police Chief Beck Mic Checked during press conference calling for end to Occupy LA.

Boycott "Black Friday!" Solidarity with Striking Chinese Workers!

chinese police

This Black Friday, as millions of Americans scramble to find the "best deals" on consumer goods, thousands of Chinese manufacturing workers are striking to demand livable wages, job security, and other basic rights. In Huangjiang alone, 8,000 striking shoe factory workers took the streets Thursday, blocking roads and standing down lines of riot police. Their factory, owned Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings, is a major provider to the sportswear company New Balance.
It seems fair to say these workers are striking for a "new balance" with their management, and the system of global exploitation that management serves. Facing police repression and media censorship, striking Chinese workers are standing up against the same unfair economic system we are fighting on Wall Street and across the world. Today, Occupiers everywhere are standing up to Boycott Black Friday in an effort to raise awareness about the exploitation and inequalities that produce the goods Americans purchase.
In a rush to get the best deals on merchandise, some shoppers in the U.S. have already turned on one another. News agencies are reporting that a woman in California pepper-sprayed another group of shoppers so she could get a better place in line. This is exactly what the 1% wants: They don't have to pepper-spray the 99% in the United States, because we are pepper-spraying one another, and we are too distracted by consumption to notice that the majority of the products we buy in North America are being produced by workers who are struggling for their basic rights abroad.
We offer an alternative. Countless Occupations have called for a nationwide boycott in support of Buy Nothing Day. Last night, members of Occupy Chicago joined camp-outs in front of department stores like Sears and Best Buy, hoping to start dialog with shoppers while also highlighting the hypocrisy that the government is allowing people to camp in public if they have money to spend on a brand new flat screen TV, but violently attacking homeless people and protesters who camp in public to protest economic inequality. Today, Chicogoans are planning to carol around the downtown shopping district.
protesters in Chicago
Meanwhile, Occupy Atlanta, including many former employees of large retailers, mic-checked crowds (VIDEO) of Black Friday shoppers around midnight last night, while Occupy Portland and surrounding cities planned to Occupy a Wal-Mart (but not buy anything) today. Occupy Boston, Occupy DC, and other cities are hosting "Really Really Free Markets" to share goods with whomever needs them, proving that another world -- and an economy where we take care of one another's needs instead of corporate profits -- is possible. Here in New York, there is a march leaving at 2pm from Liberty Square to Foley Square to mark Black Friday.
Workers in China, in the U.S., and everywhere deserve fair compensation and an equal share in the prosperity our labor produces. In a season defined by consumption and consumerism, we stand in solidarity with the workers of China, and with all those who rise up for the global 99%!
  • Occupy El Paso mic checked a crowd inside Wal-Mart, decrying the evils of union-busting and reminding shoppers of the true cost of low prices -- worker exploitation! VIDEO
  • Up to 10 people were reported arrested at Occupy KC during a Black Friday protest at a Wal Mart.
  • Occupy San Diego mic checked a Wal Mart
  • In Florida, Occupy Tampa mic checked a Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy urging consumers to be way of debt and to buy local instead VIDEO
  • Occupy Oakland dropped a "shop local" banner on an IKEA, and then flash mobbed a Target in Emeryville
  • Occupy San Francisco marched around the Union Square shopping center, nonviolently blocking the entrance to an Armani Exchange and causing an Old Navy to lock their doors

black friday

Two Scandals, One Connection: The FBI link between Penn State and UC Davis

Dave Zirin on November 23, 2011 - 10:32am ET

Two shocking scandals. Two esteemed universities. Two disgraced university leaders. One stunning connection. Over the last month, we’ve seen Penn State University President Graham Spanier dismissed from his duties and we’ve seen UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi pushed to the brink of resignation. Spanier was jettisoned because of what appears to be a systematic cover-up of assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky’s serial child rape. Katehi has faced calls to resign after the she sent campus police to blast pepper spray in the faces of her peaceably assembled students, an act for which she claims “full responsibility.” The university’s Faculty Association has since voted for her ouster citing a “gross failure of leadership.” The names Spanier and Katehi are now synonymous with the worst abuses of institutional power. But their connection didn’t begin there. In 2010, Spanier chose Katehi to join an elite team of twenty college presidents on what’s called the National Security Higher Education Advisory Board, which “promotes discussion and outreach between research universities and the FBI.”
Spanier said upon the group’s founding in 2005, “The National Security Higher Education Advisory Board promises to help universities and government work toward a balanced and rational approach that will allow scientific research and education to progress and our nation to remain safe.” He also said that the partnership could help provide “internships” to faculty and students interested in “National Security issues.”
FBI chief Robert Mueller said at a press conference with Spanier, “We knew it would not be necessarily an easy sell because of the perceived tension between law enforcement and academia. But once we’ve briefed President Spanier on the national security threats that impact all of you here at Penn State and at other universities, it became clear to all of us why this partnership is so important. “
But the reality of this partnership is far different. Its original mandate was about protecting schools from “cyber theft” and “intellectual property issues.” As has been true with the FBI since Hoover, give them a foothold, and they’ll take off their shoes and get cozy. Their classified mandate has since expanded to such euphemisms as “counter-terrorism” and “public safety.” It also expanded federal anti-terrorism task forces to include the dark-helmeted pepper-spray brigades, otherwise known as the campus police.
As Wired magazine put it in 2007, “presidents are being advised to think like ‘Cold Warriors’ and be mindful of professors and students who may not be on campus for purposes of learning but, instead, for spying, stealing research and recruiting people who are sympathetic to an anti-U.S. cause.”
Chancellor Katehi said in 2010 that despite these concerns, she was proud to join the NSHEA because “it’s important for us to learn from the FBI about the smartest, safest protocols to follow as we do our work, and it is equally important that the FBI has a solid understanding of matters of academic freedom.”
Sacremento’s FBI special agent in Charge, Drew Parenti, praised her involvement, saying, “The FBI’s partnership with higher education is a key component in our strategy of staying ahead of national security threats from our foreign adversaries…. we are very pleased that Chancellor Katehi has accepted an appointment to serve on the board.”
As for the actual meetings between the presidents of academic institutions and the FBI, those discussions are classified. If you are a rabble-rousing faculty member or a student group stepping out of line, your school records can become the FBI’s business and you’d be none the wiser.
Chris Ott, from the Massachusetts ACLU, said of the NSHEA, “The FBI is asking university faculty, staff, and students to create a form of neighborhood watch against anything that is so called ‘suspicious.’ What kinds of things are they going to report on? Who has the right to be snitching? One of the scary things is who [on the campuses] will take it upon themselves to root out spies?”
In the wake of the scandals that have enveloped and now destroyed the careers of Spanier and Katehi, the very existence of the NCHEA should now be called to question. Given the personal character on display by these two individuals, why should anyone trust that the classified meetings have stayed in the realm of “cyber theft” and intellectual property rights? What did the FBI tell Chancellor Katehi about how to deal with the peacefully assembled Occupiers? Was “counter-terrorism” advice given on how to handle her own students?
As for Spanier, how much of Sandusky’s actions at Penn State, which were documented on campus but never shared with the local police, was the FBI privy to? Why did the school hire former FBI director Louis Freeh to head up their internal investigation? Does that in fact represent a conflict of interest? And most critically, did  the “chilling effect” of a sanctioned FBI presence at Penn State actually prevent people from coming forward?
When Spanier was asked in 2005, if he was concerned about whether a formal partnership with the FBI would cause objections he said, “If there is an issue on my campus, I’d like to be the first person to hear about it, not the last.” In the context of recent events, it’s probably best to let those words speak for themselves. But fear not for the futures of these two stewards of higher education and academic freedom. Maybe Spanier can put his experience as a federal informant to good use from inside a federal prison. As for Katehi, if, as suspected, she’ll be unemployed shortly, perhaps she can take advantage of one of those fabulous internship opportunities having the FBI on campus provides.

Time Magazine: There's news, and then theres American news.

Time Magazine: There's news, and then theres American news.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Indian Protester Slaps Politician Then Pulls Out Knife slashes his own arm in protest!!

Attention BlackFriday Shoppers: YOU WILL BE TRACKED

Tribute To Martyrs Day at Tahrir, 25-11-2011

mother of one of the martyrs comforted

male human chain to protect female protesters from being pushed or harassed.

female human chain around female protesters to protect them from being pushed. as usual, girl outnumbered boys.

Another Army officer joined crowds at #Tahrir against #SCAF

mother of one of the martyrs ♥ still standing in #Tahrir and wud never go unless #SCAF is punished
Field hospital at hardeez. it was moved to there coz its closer to Mohamed mahmod street, where most violence took place

Will the Looming American Police State Unify the Resistance?

The recent police crackdowns have brought an interesting new dynamic to the Occupy Wall Street movement. With scenes of blatant and unprovoked police brutality going viral on the web almost daily now, it is becoming apparent to everyone in the streets and even at home that Wall Street is just one of many institutions run amok in the American establishment.
OWS has now turned a corner; the movement may still be about Wall Street corruption at its core, but it has now exposed the existence of a police state that rivals the most authoritarian dictatorships in the world. This is a glaring fact that the entire activist community needs to recognize and point out to the world so that this police brutality can take center stage in the public dialogue.
In the past week we have seen an escalation of the American police state as Homeland Security Coordinated a 18-City Police Crackdown on Protests. In the crackdowns that have taken place so far there has been an obvious and aggressive effort to use intimidation and force on peaceful protesters, almost as if it were policy. As the whole world was watching veterans were shot at by police at critically injured, senior citizens have been assaulted, sit-in protesters have been showered point blank with pepper spraywomen have been punched in the face and a pregnant mother miscarried a child after being attacked by police. These are just a few of the harshest abuses of state power that we have seen regarding the Occupy movement.
Even if you disagree with some of the politics that seem to be involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement, that certainly doesn’t justify the kind of violence that these protesters are being subjected to. I myself have been vocal about staying away from political demands, especially those involving taxation, but when I see this kind of force used against nonviolent people, all of those minor political disagreements automatically take a back seat.
History has shown us that tyranny marches ever onward, and this brand of authoritarianism will only get progressively worse if it is not relentlessly opposed by a large portion of the country. When you give the government or the elite an inch they always take a mile, so we don’t even want to give them a centimeter. This tragedy has played out many different times over the generations, as Martin Niemöller highlighted in his legendary poem “First they came for the Jews”.
All of the revolutions that have happened around the world in the past year have gained immense amounts of support because of the scenes depicting oppression and brutality that were filmed in the streets. The support that these movements gathered had very little to do with their demands or political agenda, but was simply a result of the empathy that people feel when they see goodhearted people being terrorized by their alleged “protectors”.
Unfortunately, many of these worldwide movements have been co-opted or met with harsh military force. However, there is certainly a lot that we can learn from observing what is happening in these other areas of unrest, so hopefully we don’t end up becoming victims of the same pitfalls.

Tuesday November 29,2011 @Pasadena Community College

RAC Soap will be here too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanksgiving and Undocumented Farm Workers

$40k Paid To Utah Man In Taser Incident During Traffic Stop

Thanksgiving Day or "ThanksTaking" Day?

Warsaw protester launches drone to spy on police

Drone spies on Warsaw riot police

During protests in Warsaw last weekend, one crafty activist deployed a flying drone to spy on riot police.
YouTube user latajacakamera — or “flying camera” in Polish — uploaded the amazing video that the drone effortlessly captured as it hovered over teargas-filled streets.
In another video, the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) floats in front of a formation of police in riot gear as they rush towards demonstrators. None of them appear to notice.
Watch this video from latajacakamera, uploaded to YouTube Nov. 12, 2011.


Black Friday 2011 police brutality@ Walmart in AZ
Dchadd shot this dramatic video of a bloody arrest during Black Friday shopping at a Walmart in Buckeye, Arizona. 'The man was not resisting,' he says. 'All of a sudden the cop hooked the leg of the man and grabbed the man by the shirt and slammed him face first into the ground. ... The worst part was seeing his grandson in tears when he saw his grandfather unconscious on the floor with blood all over.'
- jmsaba, CNN iReport producer
iReport — Man put two games under his shirt because his grandson got knocked
down in the rush and he needed his hands to help his grandson. A cop
saw and immediately arrested him for shoplifting. The man did not try or pass the registers. Not even close. The man was cooperating while the cop was putting on the handcuffs. The cop out of no where tripped the man and bashed his head nose first into the ground knocking him out and there is blood everywhere. The cop did not know how to care for the man so someone that was there shopping had to help get blood out the mans airways.

The start of the US holiday shopping season was marred by shootings and pepper-sprayings as bargain-hunters stampeded stores.

The violence gave a whole new meaning to Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when many retailers move out of the red and into the black.
The incidents, including at least two robberies, mostly took place at branches of the store chain Walmart.
Half of the entire US population is expected to hit the shops this weekend.
Many stores had crowds rushing in as they opened at midnight - several hours earlier than they usually do - on the busiest shopping day of the year.
The openings were mostly peaceful, but there were ugly scenes in some places as crowds competed for goods.
One of the most dramatic incidents happened in a Walmart store in Los Angeles, where police are using CCTV footage to hunt for a woman who used pepper spray on crowds competing for Xbox 360s.
"They [staff] were opening a package to try to get some Xboxes from a crate and this lady pepper-sprayed a whole bunch of people in order to gain an advantage over the Xboxes," a local police sergeant said.
In the most violent incident, a man is in a stable but critical condition in hospital after being shot in the early hours as he left a Walmart with a group of people in San Leandro, California, when they resisted two armed robbers who demanded their purchases
  • A man was reportedly detained for resisting arrest after a fight at the jewellery counter in the early hours at a Walmart in Kissimmee, Florida
  • Police are looking for two suspects after gunfire erupted early on Friday at a shopping centre in Fayetteville, North Carolina; there were no reports of injuries
  • Security workers reportedly used pepper spray on shoppers who began grabbing at goods before they were unloaded from pallets at a Walmart in Kinston, North Carolina
  • A woman was shot in the foot by a robber as she loaded her purchases into her car in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; the gunman fled as one of the victim's companions brandished a revolver and fired warning shots
Bargain-hunters were lured by an array of so-called "door-buster" deals of up to 70% off on big-screen televisions, video games and toys.
Analysts said that with the best deals focussed on must-have electronic items, demand - and competition - was strong and tensions were to be expected.
"The more the people, the more the occurrences," Marshal Cohen of market research firm The NPD Group told the Associated Press.
Occupy Black FridayOccupy Wall Street protesters try to put people off shopping at Macy's in New York as it opens on 25 November 2011

Occupy Wall Street protesters called for a boycott of Macy's

Target, Best Buy and Macy's were among the stores that opened at midnight, while Gap and Toys R Us opened on Thanksgiving itself.
Protests were planned in a number of cities urging people to boycott national chains on Black Friday.
Several Occupy activists demonstrated outside New York's flagship Macy's, but they could not put off more than 9,000 people who had queued for the store's midnight opening.
Nelson Sepulveda, a New York building superintendent, was the first in line at a Manhattan Best Buy store having queued for 28 hours before it opened.
He wanted to get his hands on a 42-in LCD television for $200 (£130) and other items, Reuters news agency reported.
For the past six years, a combination of increasingly early opening times and enticing deals have helped make the day after Thanksgiving the biggest shopping day in the US.
About 152 million people were expected to visit stores in search of bargains this weekend - up 10% from last year - according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
But despite the large crowds, some expert observers said there was no indication spending levels were particularly high, noting that teenagers made up much of the crowd at the huge Mall of America complex in Minneapolis.

Crowds thronged the Thanksgiving parade in New York on Thursday
Consumer spending accounts for about 70% of US economic activity, so economists will be watching the retail bonanza closely.
Between 25-40% of annual US retail sales take place during November and December.
Analysts say a powerful start to the shopping season could cheer employment prospects in the retail sector, which supports about a quarter of all jobs in the US.
Retail hiring for the season has still not yet rebounded to its 2005 pre-recession peak of 642,000 workers, according to the NRF.