Justice Articles from 2017

Israel Security Forces Are Training American Cops Despite History of Rights Abuses

[Community]
Israel Security Forces Are Training American Cops Despite History of Rights Abuses
by Alice Speri
Posted September 29, 2017

merican police being trained  by Israeli forcesIt’s not uncommon for residents of America’s most heavily policed neighborhoods to describe their local cops as “an occupying force.” Judging by where many U.S. police forces get their training, the description seems apt.

Thousands of American law enforcement officers frequently travel for training to one of the few countries where policing and militarism are even more deeply intertwined than they are here: Israel.

While attention on the militarization of American police forces has intensified in recent years, spurring some reforms that the Trump administration has already undone, U.S.-Israel police exchange programs have carried on without much public scrutiny. More…

Which is Fraudulent – Bitcoin or JP Morgan?

[Economic]
Which is Fraudulent – Bitcoin or JP Morgan?
by Michael Krieger
Posted September 24, 2017

Jamie Dimon testifying at government hearingI’m really grateful JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon decided to once again lash out in anger at Bitcoin, as it provides us with ample opportunity to highlight a practice very near and dear to how the bank operates. Fraud.

The way the news cycle works, any topic that isn’t already at the forefront of enough people’s minds will be largely ignored irrespective of its importance. The fact that Jamie Dimon ironically called Bitcoin a fraud, allows us to ask highlight some very important facts about the seemingly systemic fraud inherent in America’s largest bank, JP Morgan.

What he once saw as competition, he now seems increasingly terrified of, which is notable in its own right. Beyond that, the most interesting aspect of his recent comments was the use of the word fraud, which provides us with a textbook case of psychological projection. After all, it’s there’s anything Jamie Dimon seems intimately familiar with, it’s fraud. More…

“Deadly Heat” in U.S. Prisons Is Killing Inmates and Spawning Lawsuits

[Justice]
“Deadly Heat” in U.S. Prisons Is Killing Inmates and Spawning Lawsuits
by Alice Speri
Posted September 23, 2017

extreme 140 degree temperatures in Texas prisonsIn the summer months, 84 inmates at the Price Daniel Unit, a medium-security prison four hours west of Dallas, share a 10-gallon cooler of water that’s kept locked in a common area. An inmate there can expect to receive one 8 oz. cup every four hours, according to Benny Hernandez, a man serving a 10-year sentence at the prison. The National Academy of Medicine recommends that adults drink about twice that amount under normal conditions and even more in hot climates. According to Hernandez, in the summer the temperature in his prison’s housing areas can reach an astonishing 140 degrees.

Earlier this summer, a federal judge certified a class action after inmates at another Texas prison — the Wallace Pack Unit, which houses sick, disabled, and elderly prisoners serving time for nonviolent crimes — sued TDCJ officials in an effort to keep the temperature below 88 degrees and prevent heat-stroke deaths. Plaintiffs in that case, originally filed in 2014, described sleeping on the floor to get some relief from the heat, metal walls trapping heat “like a parked car,” and metal tables that “get so heated that prisoners have to lay towels on them to rest their elbows on.” More…

A society can be judged on how it treats its most vulnerable citizens.

Slave Labor Widespread at ICE Detention Centers, Lawyers Say

[Justice]
Slave Labor Widespread at ICE Detention Centers, Lawyers Say
by Mia Steinle
Posted September 22, 2017

for profit companies profiting from forced slave laborThe companies in question have crafted a lucrative business model in which the U.S. government pays them billions of dollars to operate federal detention centers. While the companies promise to bring jobs and other economic benefits to the communities where they set up shop, many experts say these promises are overblown because the companies rely on low-paid detainee labor instead.

As POGO previously reported, the majority of America’s detention centers are run by a handful of companies that are largely secretive about what goes on in these taxpayer-funded facilities. What’s no secret is how much money these companies earn.

CoreCivic and GEO Group are two of the largest private detention contractors in the country. In 2016, CoreCivic reported over $1.8 billion in revenue, while GEO Group reported over $2.1 billion, according to the companies’ official filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. More…

The vision of for profit corporations forcing people into slave labor should send red flags to anyone with a conscience and anyone concerned about basic human rights.

Death of Freddie Gray: 5 Things You Didn’t Know

[Justice]
Death of Freddie Gray: 5 Things You Didn’t Know
By Amelia McDonell-Parry and Justine Barron
Posted September 14, 2017

Freddie Gray's killers will not face justiceFreddie Gray became a national news story thanks to a man named Kevin Moore, who filmed the last few minutes of Gray’s arrest. After giving a copy of the video to investigators, Moore uploaded the footage online and it quickly went viral. It showed Gray being held face down on the sidewalk by officers Garrett Miller and Edward Nero, screaming in pain. His ankles were crossed and his knees bent, with Miller’s weight pushing his heels in his rear, a police hold known as a leg lace.

While Moore’s video was shown in court at the police officers’ trials, he was never called to testify. Neither were any of the dozen-plus residents who witnessed Gray’s arrest that morning, despite many of them giving damning interviews to the media under their own names. Some of these witnesses were interviewed by detectives, but their accounts – of Taser use, of seeing an officer put his knee in Gray’s neck, of Freddie crying out that they were hurting his back and his legs – were dismissed by both the police and prosecutors. Other officers who were present during the arrest, but weren’t charged, testified that Gray was only trying to attract attention, but witnesses maintain his screams were real. More…

A Federal Judge Put Hundreds of Immigrants Behind Bars While Her Husband Invested in Private Prisons

[Justice]
A Federal Judge Put Hundreds of Immigrants Behind Bars While Her Husband Invested in Private Prisons
by Samantha Michaels
Posted September 11, 2017

Judge Linda Reade’s husband bought more prison stock five days before one of the nation’s biggest immigration raids.It was almost lunchtime inside the country’s largest kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, on May 12, 2008, when 400 meatpackers, mostly migrants from Guatemala and Mexico,
were arrested in the bust, which cost $5 million and was then the biggest workplace immigration raid in US history.

Overseeing the process was Judge Linda R. Reade, the chief judge of the Northern District of Iowa. She defended the decision to turn a fairground into a courthouse, saying the proceedings were fair and unhurried. The incident sparked allegations of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct and led to congressional hearings. Erik Camayd-Freixas, an interpreter who had worked at the Waterloo proceedings, testified that most of the Spanish-speaking defendants had been pressured to plead guilty. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) said the unconventional process seemed “like a cattle auction, not a criminal prosecution in the United States of America.”

Yet amid the national attention, one fact didn’t make the news: Before and after the raid, Reade’s husband owned stock in two private prison companies, and he bought additional prison stock five days before the raid, according to Reade’s financial disclosure forms. Ethics experts say these investments were inappropriate and may have violated the Code of Conduct for United States Judges. More…

Joe Arpaio Is No Aberration

[Social]
Joe Arpaio Is No Aberration
By Margaret Kimberley
Posted September 8, 2017

Joe Arpaio, human rights abuser is symptomatic of a rotted systemEven most leftish white Americans like to think that their country is good and its institutions are fair and equitable. According to this wishful thinking human rights abuses only happen in faraway places and injustices here are resolved by reining in a few bad apples. The facts say otherwise and prove that the United States is consistently one of the worst human rights violators in the world. The cruelty of its prison system extends far beyond headlines of a few well known villains like David Clarke and Joe Arpaio.

Arpaio is surely deserving of scorn heaped upon him. He referred to his jails as “concentration camps.” He held prisoners outdoors in tents, a violation of national and international law. Arpaio was convicted of contempt of court because he continued to detain undocumented people without charge in violation of a judge’s order. More…

TigerSwan Tactics Part 6

[Justice]
TigerSwan Tactics Part 6
by Alleen Brown, Will Parrish, Alice Speri
Posted September 6, 2017

mercenaries working for private corporation Leaked documents and public records reveal a troubling fusion of private security, public law enforcement, and corporate money in the fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline.

When the largest Dakota Access Pipeline resistance camp in North Dakota was forcibly shut down in February, the work of TigerSwan, the private security company hired by Energy Transfer Partners to guard its property, appeared to be nearly done. Then the pipeline was hit by several acts of vandalism targeting valve sites along the route. Starting in mid-March, saboteurs snaked down the line, piercing holes in exposed parts of the pipeline and setting equipment on fire. More…

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