Justice Articles from 2018
And Justice For None
By Paul Solotaroff
Posted April 26, 2018
Inside the biggest law enforcement scandal in Massachusetts history. How the system covered up tens of thousands of falsified drug tests – and how two teams of crusading lawyers exposed the wrongdoing. “This could just be the tip of the iceberg,” says one expert. “Prosecutorial misconduct is rampant in America.”
For the millions of people carrying drug convictions, the pain doesn’t stop at the prison gates. Rather, it’s outsourced to the probation system, where ex-cons are bled for their earnings. They pay fines, fees and drug-test costs that add up to thousands of dollars. Worse, they’re saddled with CORI sheets, or Criminal Offender Record Information. Wherever they apply for work or housing, they must acknowledge and show those files. Practically speaking, that makes it all but impossible to find safe lodging or earn real wages. More…
Canadian authorities charging teenager for downloading public records
By Katitza Rodriguez and Aaron Mackey
Posted April 26, 2018
Canadian authorities should drop charges against a 19-year-old Canadian accused of “unauthorized use of a computer service” for downloading thousands of public records hosted and available to all on a government website. The whole episode is an embarrassing overreach that chills the right of access to public records and threatens important security research.
Beyond the absurdity of charging someone with downloading public records that were available to anyone with an Internet connection, if anyone is to blame for this mess, it’s Nova Scotia officials. They have both insecurely set up their public records server to permit public access to others’ private information. Officials should accept responsibility for failing to secure such sensitive data rather than ginning up a prosecution.
The fact that the government was publishing documents that contained sensitive data in a public website without any passwords or access controls demonstrates their own failure to protect the private information of individuals. Moreover, it does not appear that the site even deployed minimal technical safeguards to exclude widely-known indexing tools such as Google search and the Internet Archive from archiving all the records published on the site, as both appear to have cached some of the documents. More…
US sets new record for censoring, withholding gov’t files
By Ted Bridis
Posted April 21, 2018
The federal government censored, withheld or said it couldn’t find records sought by citizens, journalists and others more often last year than at any point in the past decade, according to an Associated Press analysis of new data.
The calculations cover eight months under President Donald Trump, the first hints about how his administration complies with the Freedom of Information Act.
The surge of people who sought records but ended up empty-handed was driven by the government saying more than ever it could not find a single page of requested files and asserting in other cases that it would be illegal under U.S. laws to release the information.
People who asked for records under the Freedom of Information Act received censored files or nothing in 78 percent of 823,222 requests, a record over the past decade. When it provided no records, the government said it could find no information related to the request in a little over half those cases. More…
Donald Trump Ordered Syria Strike Based on a Secret Legal Justification Even Congress Can’t See
by Jon Schwarz
Posted April 17, 2018
On Friday night, President Trump ordered the U.S. military to conduct a bombing attack against the government of Syria without congressional authorization. How can this be constitutional, given the fact that Article I, Section 8 of America’s founding document declares that “The Congress shall have Power … To declare War”?
The deeply bizarre and alarming answer is that Trump almost certainly does have some purported legal justification provided to him by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel — but no one else, including Congress, can read it.
The Office of Legal Counsel is often called the Supreme Court of the executive branch, providing opinions on how the president and government agencies should interpret the law. More…
Turn Prisons Into Colleges
By Elizabeth Hinton
Posted April 16, 2018
Imagine if prisons looked like the grounds of universities. Instead of languishing in cells, incarcerated people sat in classrooms and learned about climate science or poetry — just like college students. Or even with them.
This would be a boon to prisoners across the country, a vast majority of whom do not have a high school diploma. And it could help shrink our prison population. While racial disparities in arrests and convictions are alarming, education level is a far stronger predictor of future incarceration than race. More…
US Aggression Towards Syria Escalates As Assange Remains Unable To Speak
by Elizabeth Vos
Posted April 15, 2018
Since Ecuador cut Julian Assange off from communication with the outside world two weeks ago, speculation has run rife on the nature of the driving forces behind Ecuador’s decision. With the drums of war now being sounded for the United States to enter into a full military attack on Assad in Syria, it is especially troubling that the Wikileaks Editor-In-Chief is prevented from expressing his views to the outside world.
Assange has long been an extremely effective and ardent anti-war voice, often promoting the work of like-minded thinkers. These include independent journalist Caitlin Johnstone, who has been one of the most vocal figures consistently crying out against U.S. intervention to topple yet another regime. Some Twitter users have also cited the possible connection between the latest escalation in tensions between the United States and Syria and the silencing of Assange, writing that his enforced isolation amounts to a direct effort to quell a uniquely powerful anti-war voice. More…
Video Shows Israeli Interrogators Making Threats Against Family of Palestinian Teen Ahed Tamimi
by Murtaza Hussain
Posted April 13, 2018
A video showing the interrogation of Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi was released by her family on Monday, with footage of Israeli interrogators threatening and intimidating the 17-year-old. At a press conference in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Tamimi’s father, Bassem, announced the release of the video, taken from an interrogation that she underwent on December 26 of last year, after she was detained for slapping an Israeli soldier during a raid on her house.
In the footage released to the public, Ahed Tamimi is shown sitting at a desk in an interrogator’s office, a week after she was detained during a raid on her home by Israeli forces. Two Israeli interrogators are seen questioning her about her involvement in recent protests. The men also make comments about her white skin and threaten to detain her family members if she fails to cooperate with them. More…
My First Day as CIA Director
By Ray McGovern
Posted April 12, 2018
Former CIA analyst and founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity Ray McGovern, in this tongue-in-cheek article, outlines steps he would take on Day One as CIA Director to get to the bottom of Russiagate.
Now that I have been nominated again – this time by author Paul Craig Roberts – to be CIA director, I am preparing to hit the ground running.
Last time my name was offered in nomination for the position – by The Nation publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel – I did not hold my breath waiting for a call from the White House. Her nomination came in the afterglow of my fortuitous, four-minute debate with then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, when I confronted him on his lies about the attack on Iraq, on May 4, 2006 on national TV. Since it was abundantly clear that Rumsfeld and I would not get along, I felt confident I had royally disqualified myself.
This time around, on the off-chance I do get the nod, I have taken the time to prepare the agenda for my first few days as CIA director. Here’s how Day One looks so far: More…
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