Justice Articles from 2017

How the DEA Uses “Parallel Construction” to Hide Unconstitutional Investigations

[Justice]
How the DEA Uses “Parallel Construction” to Hide Unconstitutional Investigations
by Michael Krieger
Posted March 23, 2017

Our justice system resembles that of a banana republicEarlier this year, I highlighted the fact that unconstitutional surveillance was in many ways birthed by the pointless, misguided and utterly failed, “War on Drugs.”

A tactic known as “parallel construction” allows law enforcement to capitalize on intelligence information while obscuring sensitive sources and surveillance methods from the prosecution, defense and jury alike. DEA training documents suggest this method of reconstructing evidence chains is widely taught and deployed.

rug Enforcement Administration training documents released to MuckRock user C.J. Ciaramella show how the agency constructs two chains of evidence to hide surveillance programs from defense teams, prosecutors, and a public wary of domestic intelligence practices. More…

Rule by Thieves: One Week in the Life of the American Kleptocracy

[Justice]
Rule by Thieves: One Week in the Life of the American Kleptocracy
By John W. Whitehead
Posted March 18, 2017

civil asset forfeiture, no conviction requiredThe American kleptocracy (a government ruled by thieves) continues to suck the American people down a rabbit hole into a parallel universe in which the Constitution is meaningless, the government is all-powerful, and the citizenry is powerless to defend itself against government agents who steal, spy, lie, plunder, kill, abuse and generally inflict mayhem and sow madness on everyone and everything in their sphere.

Case in point: in the same week that Wikileaks dropped its bombshell about the CIA’s use of spy tools to subject law-abiding Americans to all manner of government surveillance and hacking—a revelation that caused barely a ripple of concern among the citizenry—the government quietly and with little fanfare continued to wage its devastating, stomach-churning, debilitating war on the American people.

Incredibly, hardly anyone noticed.

This begs the question: if the government is overstepping its authority, abusing its power, and disregarding the rule of law but no one seems to notice—and no one seems to care—does it matter if the government has become a tyrant? The American kleptocracy (a government ruled by thieves) continues to suck the American people down a rabbit hole into a parallel universe in which the Constitution is meaningless, the government is all-powerful, and the citizenry is powerless to defend itself against government agents who steal, spy, lie, plunder, kill, abuse and generally inflict mayhem and sow madness on everyone and everything in their sphere.

Case in point: in the same week that Wikileaks dropped its bombshell about the CIA’s use of spy tools to subject law-abiding Americans to all manner of government surveillance and hacking—a revelation that caused barely a ripple of concern among the citizenry—the government quietly and with little fanfare continued to wage its devastating, stomach-churning, debilitating war on the American people.

Incredibly, hardly anyone noticed.

This begs the question: if the government is overstepping its authority, abusing its power, and disregarding the rule of law but no one seems to notice—and no one seems to care—does it matter if the government has become a tyrant? Here’s my short answer: when government wrongdoing ceases to matter, America will have ceased to be. More…

Protest is Increasingly Becoming Criminalized in America

[Justice]
Protest is Increasingly Becoming Criminalized in America
by Michael Krieger
Posted March 14, 2017

isn't the US a free speech zone?Readers of Liberty Blitzkrieg will be well aware of the gradual erosion by the state of the civil liberties of the American public. Such attacks are typically sufficiently under the radar, so that the average citizen has no idea what is happening until it’s too late. I have written about such calculated assaults on many occasions, but the holy grail target of the status quo is the First Amendment of the Constitution, which enshrines a right to the freedom of religion, speech, the press, and the right to peaceably assemble and petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Many aspects of the First Amendment have been neutered in practice. For example, the right to assemble peacefully and effectively is often prevented in practice by the need to secure permits and other hindrances (see “free speech cages” and “protest zones”) . Meanwhile, on college campuses, where activism is historically most vibrant, many schools have embraced the Orwellian concept of “free speech zones” in order to prevent free speech.

Unfortunately, it appears this trend is about to get a lot worse following the DAPL protests and increased activism we’ve seen since Trump’s election. More…

Judge to FDA: The Government Must Pull Aside Curtain on GE Salmon

[Justice]
Judge to FDA: The Government Must Pull Aside Curtain on GE Salmon
By Jessica A. Knoblauch
Posted March 11, 2017

genetically engineered salmon riskyRecently, a U.S. District Court judge took the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to task for withholding government documents related to the agency’s approval of genetically engineered (GE) salmon. The judge’s decision is a big win for public transparency, but it’s also a small step toward finally doing a proper evaluation of the risks posed by GE animals—which could one day end up on our dinner plates.

Even though this is the first time any government in the world has approved a GE animal for commercial sale and consumption, so far the FDA has taken a lackadaisical approach to evaluating the salmon’s potential for harm to wild salmon and the environment. If the GE salmon were to escape, it could threaten wild salmon populations by outcompeting them for scarce resources and habitat, by mating with endangered salmon species, and by introducing new diseases. More…

What JPMorgan and Citigroup Have in Common When It Comes to Crime

[Justice]
What JPMorgan and Citigroup Have in Common When It Comes to Crime
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted March 7, 2017

Jamie Dimon retains CEO positionOn September 8, 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) fined Wells Fargo $185 million following an investigation that found that its employees had engaged in a widespread practice of “secretly opening unauthorized deposit and credit card accounts” in order to meet sales quotas or qualify for bonuses. An estimated 2 million accounts were involved. One month later, the Chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo, John Stumpf, was gone.

Consider that swift action to acknowledge and punish egregious abuse of clients with how the Boards of Directors of JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup have responded to criminal felony charges and seemingly endless regulatory fines for abusing clients’ trust. The Boards have kept their CEOs in place, paid the monster fines and moved on to the next settlement. More…

Former CIA Analyst Sues Defense Department to Vindicate NSA Whistleblowers

[Justice]
Former CIA Analyst Sues Defense Department to Vindicate NSA Whistleblowers
by Jenna McLaughlin
Posted February 17, 2017

Thomas Drake sues Defense departmentIn 2010, Thomas Drake, a former senior employee at the National Security Agency, was charged with espionage for speaking to a reporter from the Baltimore Sun about a bloated, dysfunctional intelligence program he believed would violate Americans’ privacy. The case against him eventually fell apart, and he pled guilty to a single misdemeanor, but his career in the NSA was over.

Though Drake was largely vindicated, the central question he raised about technology and privacy has never been resolved. Almost seven years have passed now, but Pat Eddington, a former CIA analyst, is still trying to prove that Drake was right. More…

Fear Materialized: Border Agents Demand Social Media Data from Americans

[Justice]
Fear Materialized: Border Agents Demand Social Media Data from Americans
by Sophia Cope
Posted February 8, 2017

asking for social media passwordsThe U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently began asking foreign visitors to the U.S. from Visa Waiver Countries for their social media identifiers. Last fall we filed our own comments opposing the policy, and joined two sets of coalition comments, one by the Center for Democracy & Technology and the other by the Brennan Center for Justice. Notably, CBP explained that it was only seeking publicly available social media data, “consistent with the privacy settings the applicant has set on the platforms.”

According to CAIR, CBP accessed public posts by demanding social media handles, and potentially accessed private posts by demanding cell phone passcodes and perusing social media apps. And border agents allegedly physically abused one man who refused to hand over his unlocked phone. More…

Six Journalists Facing Riot Charges Potential of Ten Years In Prison

[Justice]
Six Journalists Facing Riot Charges Potential of Ten Years In Prison
By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese
Posted January 26, 2017

police in Washington DCReporters Without Borders (RSF) is concerned to learn that multiple journalists are being charged with participating in a riot and face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for covering inauguration protests Friday. RSF calls on the Washington DC authorities to drop all felony riot charges against journalists who were merely doing their job to report the news.

RSF learned over the weekend of the arrest of RT America‘s Alexander Rubinstein and Vocativ‘s Evan Engel while covering protests and riots that broke out in Washington, DC on Inauguration day. We are concerned to learn today that they are facing serious felony charges, along with other journalists for coverage of the same protests.

The Guardian reported that six journalists, including Rubinstein, were arrested at the DC protests writing: more…

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