Justice Articles from 2018

How a “location API” allows cops to figure out where we all are in real time

[Justice]
How a “location API” allows cops to figure out where we all are in real time
by Cyrus Farivar
Posted May 20, 2018

cell carriers are selling your location dataThe digital privacy world was rocked late Thursday evening when The New York Times reported on Securus, a prison telecom company that has a service enabling law enforcement officers to locate most American cell phones within seconds. The company does this via a basic Web interface leveraging a location API—creating a way to effectively access a massive real-time database of cell-site records.

Securus’ location ability relies on other data brokers and location aggregators that obtain that information directly from mobile providers, usually for the purposes of providing some commercial service like an opt-in product discount triggered by being near a certain location. (“You’re near a Carl’s Jr.! Stop in now for a free order of fries with purchase!”) More…

The Prison Industry in the United States: Big Business or a New Form of Slavery?

[Justice]
The Prison Industry in the United States: Big Business or a New Form of Slavery?
By Vicky Peláez
Posted May 20, 2018

for profit prisons benefiting the already richHuman rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million – mostly Black and Hispanic – are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don’t have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don’t like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.

There are approximately 2 million inmates in state, federal and private prisons throughout the country. According to California Prison Focus, “no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens.” More…

The Massacre in Gaza: A Deliberate and Calculated Policy

[Justice]
The Massacre in Gaza: A Deliberate and Calculated Policy
By Steven Chovanec
Posted May 20, 2018

calculated murder of civiliansIsraeli soldiers wounded more than 2,700 Palestinian protesters and killed dozens more with rifle fire on Monday. At least five children were killed, including an 8-month-old baby girl who died after inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers. Today, a few hundred Palestinians have defiantly returned to protest near the Gaza fence after yesterday’s carnage. Early reports indicate that there has already been one death and dozens of injuries from live ammunition and gas inhalation, while casualties have been reported during separate protests in the West Bank.

No evidence has been presented showing that Palestinians have posed a threat to the Israeli snipers pulling the triggers. The Israeli soldiers are positioned hundreds of yards away, perched behind a hill, wearing full battle gear. They are comfortably shooting at the Palestinians through sniper scopes, from a safe distance from which they are in no danger. More…

Louisiana and Minnesota Introduce Anti-Protest Bills Amid Fights Over Bayou Bridge and Enbridge Pipelines

[Justice]
Louisiana and Minnesota Introduce Anti-Protest Bills Amid Fights Over Bayou Bridge and Enbridge Pipelines
by Alleen Brown, Will Parrish
Posted May 19, 2018

making protest illegalThe Louisiana House of Representatives introduced new legislation aimed at criminalizing the activities of groups protesting the extraction, burning, and transport of oil and gas. The bill is similar to a model created by the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council. Indeed, in the wake of the massive protest movement at Standing Rock, which attempted to prevent completion of the Dakota Access pipeline, at least seven states have introduced or passed “critical infrastructure” legislation. Louisiana’s version comes as opponents of the Bayou Bridge pipeline have ramped up protest activities in the state, staging occupations and blockades aimed at halting construction of the project.

The legislation creates new crimes that would punish groups for “conspiring” to trespass on critical infrastructure sites and prescribes particularly harsh penalties for those whose ideas, if carried out, would disrupt the operations of such infrastructure. The definition of the term critical infrastructure would be amended to include pipelines and pipeline construction sites. The language of the bill reaches far beyond cases of property destruction, and stands to net individuals who do not participate in or condone such activities. More…

I Have a Few Questions for Gina Haspel

[Justice]
I Have a Few Questions for Gina Haspel
By Fatima Boudchar
Posted May 18, 2018

Gina Haspel ran CIA  black torture siteI was abducted from exile in Southeast Asia and secretly jailed in one of Libya’s worst dungeons. But the worst torture of my life wasn’t done to me by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s thugs. It was done in Thailand at the hands of the C.I.A.

It was March 2004. During this nightmare — my detention and “rendition” to Libya — I was pregnant. Shortly afterward, I gave birth. After what the C.I.A. did to me, my baby weighed four pounds.

Now I hear that Gina Haspel, who as a C.I.A. officer ran a black site in Thailand in 2002 that sounds like the one where I was tortured, has been chosen to lead the whole agency. On Wednesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee will question her to decide whether she is fit to be director. More…

Will a Torturer Become CIA Director?

[Politics]
Will a Torturer Become CIA Director?
By Ray McGovern
Posted May 16, 2018

CIA and Inquisition Gina Haspel faces a confirmation hearing on Wednesday to become CIA director despite her record of supporting torture, which even the Pentagon admitted does not work.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled on Wednesday to decide whether to recommend that Gina Haspel be confirmed as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The mind boggles.

It is no secret that Haspel oversaw detainee torture, including waterboarding, at a CIA “black site” base in Thailand. The nonprofit National Security Archive, housed at The George Washington University, reports that Haspel later drafted a cable ordering the destruction of dozens of videotapes of torture sessions, including some from before her arrival. Haspel also helped feed repeated lies about the supposed effectiveness of torture to CIA superiors, Congress, and two presidents. More…

Veteran CIA Analyst Ray McGovern Assaulted By Police While Protesting Nomination Of Gina Haspel

[Justice]
Veteran CIA Analyst Ray McGovern Assaulted By Police While Protesting Nomination Of Gina Haspel
by Elizabeth Vos
Posted May 11, 2018

Ray McGovern assaulted by police during protestGina Haspel, President Trump’s pick for CIA Director, is notorious among CIA veterans for her implementation of illegal and ineffective torture programs, which often took place overseas at [illegal] ‘black sites.’ Her apparent gusto for violence eventually earned her the nickname ‘Bloody Gina.’ The aura of violence surrounding Haspel is so potent that it manifested in her own confirmation hearing, in the form of the violent police response to protestors including Ray McGovern, CIA veteran analyst and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

McGovern was severely injured by police as he vocalized opposition to the nomination of Gina Haspel as CIA Director. Multiple cell phone videos captured the fact that, despite being brutally assaulted by police officers, McGovern was able to clearly state that Haspel was a key figure in the implementation of illegal torture programs at overseas black sites, including one in Thailand. More…

Perjury, Lying Deeply Ingrained into American Police Culture

[Justice]
Perjury, Lying Deeply Ingrained into American Police Culture
by Kali Holloway
Posted May 8, 2018

police perjury common study findsPolice officers lie under oath in court so often that they’ve even given the practice a nickname. “Behind closed doors, we call it testilying,” New York City police officer Pedro Serrano told the New York Times. “You take the truth and stretch it out a little bit.”

The term, the Times notes, came into common usage among cops about 25 years ago, but the issue of police perjury is far older, a problem African Americans have complained of for many decades. In rare instances, those with intimate knowledge have publicly acknowledged not only how rampant testifying is, but also how rarely cops caught in the act face consequences.

More than 50 years after Younger’s broadside, a newly released Times study has turned up more than two-dozen instances of police lying in court since January 2015—and these confirmed cases “are almost certainly only a fraction” of the real total. The ubiquity of plea deals, which effectively halts cases before they’re weighed by a court, means “the possibility that an officer lied is seldom aired in public.” Even when false police testimony comes to public light, court papers are generally sealed and an officer’s misdeed protected from scrutiny. More…

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