Justice Articles from 2018
This is Why You Can’t Trust “Experts” and Lab Results at Trial
By The Daily Bell Staff
Posted June 9, 2018
Last year, a Massachusetts court had to vacate 21,000 drug convictions due to one state lab employee.
First, Annie Dookhan lied about her qualifications in order to advance her carer as an expert witness. She was testifying at trials, getting people thrown in jail, without any actual expertise on topics on which she testified. Then, Dookhan committed fraud by falsely certifying that inert substances were illegal drugs. Then Dookhan was convicted in 2013, but the cases she worked on were not vacated until 2017.
She was paroled after three years and released from prison before the sentences of those she helped convict were vacated. That’s because, despite the clear wrongdoing, the state still fought against dismissing the cases tainted by Dookhan’s lies.
Carl Williams, staff attorney for the ACLU of Massachusetts, said his organization faced resistance and had to sue the district attorney’s office to bring about the thousands of dismissals. He stated in a phone interview that this, “the largest dismissal of criminal cases based on a single court filing in history,” is part of a systemic problem involving prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and jailers. More…
Sorrow, Outrage Over IDF Killing of Nurse in Gaza as Deathtoll Surpasses 120
by Jon Queally
Posted June 6, 2018
“Razan was not shooting,” said one witness. “Razan was saving souls and treating the wounded.”
On the same day the U.S. vetoed a resolution at the U.N Security Council demanding an end to Israel’s practice of firing on unarmed demonstrators in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the Gaza strip, outrage was again heightened after a nurse attempting to attend to injured protesters was shot and killed by IDF snipers near the Gaza border.
The killing of Razan Al-Najjar—the 21-year-old nurse and volunteer medic who witnesses say was “shot as she ran toward the fortified border fence, east of the south Gaza city of Khan Younis, in a bid to reach a casualty” on Friday—made her the latest victim of Israeli’s “shoot to kill” policy that has been used against Palestinians since weekly protests began earlier this year. More…
Social Media Now Being Used by Police and Intelligence Agencies to Collect Biometrics
By Nicholas West
Posted May 31, 2018
Amid the ongoing Facebook/Cambridge Analytica debacle over their general surveillance and misuse of users’ private data, there is an emerging trend that is infinitely more disturbing.
The first story popped up in the UK yesterday where police admitted to using a photo sent through WhatsApp to cull fingerprints for evidence that successfully led to the conviction of 11 individuals for drug crimes. The story further revealed that this was not just a special-use case; apparently it is a technique that has been developed specifically to use the vast amount of public photos available to extract evidence from images that have been posted or transmitted online.
As reported by Dawn Luger for The Daily Sheeple, this new technique is being rolled out and law enforcement is calling it “groundbreaking,” as it can pull information from even partial photos: More…
Cops Around the Country Can Now Unlock iPhones, Records Show
by Joseph Cox
Posted May 26, 2018
A Motherboard investigation has found that law enforcement agencies across the country have purchased GrayKey, a relatively cheap tool for bypassing the encryption on iPhones, while the FBI pushes again for encryption backdoors.
FBI Director Christopher Wray recently said that law enforcement agencies are “increasingly unable to access” evidence stored on encrypted devices.
Wray is not telling the whole truth.
Police forces and federal agencies around the country have bought relatively cheap tools to unlock up-to-date iPhones and bypass their encryption, according to a Motherboard investigation based on several caches of internal agency documents, online records, and conversations with law enforcement officials. Many of the documents were obtained by Motherboard using public records requests. More…
When Zionism Rubs Up Against Reality
by Stanley L. Cohen
Posted May 25, 2018
Israel is good at what it does. Damn good. No, not its slaughter, torture and endless detention and land theft; these are givens. A dark, very public, almost proud record of “achievement” that stands essentially unparalleled when it comes to recent contempt for international norm and law.
Like those before, what it really excels at is the grand lie… the convenient historical rewrite; the excuse; the ability to recast yesterday, today and surely tomorrow as so much a duty-bound journey in which no outrage is beyond the pale, no crime too extreme, no offense too offensive. Always, of course, cast in the talisman of survival. It’s a skill… a dodgy political art-form that converts inconvenient truth into self serving dogma with all too predictable deadly consequence. More…
Three Key Reforms for Facial Recognition and Body Cameras
by Project on Government Oversight
Posted May 23, 2018
In recent years, we at The Constitution Project have warned that adding facial recognition scanning to police body cameras poses serious risks that could undermine basic privacy and due process rights. Unfortunately, the time to prepare for these risks is running out. This week, the Wall Street Journal reported that body camera vendors are preparing body cameras with real-time facial recognition capabilities, and law enforcement agencies could potentially deploy them as soon as this fall.
Real-time facial recognition is especially concerning because it means that body cameras will continuously scan the face of everyone passing police officers on the street, and immediately log and relay data. Before adding real-time facial recognition to body cameras, it’s critical that departments and lawmakers implement necessary measures to avert the unprecedented mass collection of the identity and location of individuals in public: More…
I Am Julian Assange
Raúl Ilargi Meijer
Posted May 22, 2018
Julian Assange appears to be painfully close to being unceremoniously thrown out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London. If that happens, the consequences for journalism, for freedom of speech, and for press freedom, will resound around the world for a very long time. It is very unwise for anyone who values truth and freedom to underestimate the repercussions of this.
In essence, Assange is not different from any journalist working for a major paper or news channel. The difference is he published what they will not because they want to stay in power. The Washington Post today would never do an investigation such as Watergate, and that’s where WikiLeaks came in.
Julian is not wanted because he’s a spy, or even because he published a number of documents whose publication was inconvenient for certain people. He is wanted because he is so damn smart, which makes him very good and terribly effective at what he does. He’s on a most wanted list not for what he’s already published, but for what he might yet publish in the future. More…
Appalachian Forest Blockades Disrupt Mountain Valley Pipeline
by Chris Schiano and Sammy DiDonato
Posted May 20, 2018
On the border between Virginia and West Virginia, a fight has begun regarding the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), a joint venture of several companies led by EQT Midstream Partners. While the pipeline is advertised as on track to be completed in 2018, it faces several dramatic delays; as of this writing, at least eight different tree-sits or other blockades currently obstruct the pipeline’s route on both public and private land.
Landowners along the route have repeatedly told off surveyors and land agents appearing on their property without their consent, only to have them show up again. A Virginia law allows natural gas companies unrestricted access to private property, granting pipeline contractors virtual immunity to steamroll over objections from residents along the route. MVP has forced over 300 landowners into court proceedings so that it can seize portions of their land under eminent domain.
County officials along the route have also expressed dismay at MVP’s tactic of using federal condemnation orders to gain rights to access property, and then beginning work without seeking permission from affected residents, or even notifying them. More…
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