Justice Articles from 2018
Energy Transfer: New Name for Pipeline Company But Same Spills and Violence Against Protesters
By Sharon Kelly
Posted November 16, 2018
Battles over new shale gas and oil pipelines involving Energy Transfer, formerly known as Energy Transfer Partners, have heated up in recent weeks — an escalation that carries a tilt, as one side stands accused of acts of violence.
Energy Transfer (ET) security contractors have been accused of physically assaulting pipeline opponents on multiple occasions, including incidents in which security allegedly pointed a gun at one pipeline opponent, struck another with the butt of a shotgun, and overturned two boats carrying a television film crew and pipeline opponents into a Louisiana swamp, according to a new report published by Greenpeace USA on October 18. More…
Giving Food to the Homeless Shouldn’t Be a Crime
by Carey Wedler
Posted Monday Nov 12, 2018
Government has long been characterized as inept. It’s easy to forget that sometimes it can be downright cruel. The latest example comes from Missouri, where the Kansas City Health Department is under fire after employees bleached food intended for the homeless because the people supplying it did not have the proper permit.
On Sunday, officials from the health department, accompanied by armed police officers, stopped volunteers with Free Hot Soup Kansas City from feeding the homeless at four locations, claiming the food had not been inspected.
As is so often the case with intrusive government policy, those most in need end up the victims. “[G]rown men and women [were] crying as they watched good, hot food made with so much love be destroyed right in front of them,” one of Free Hot Soup’s administrators said of the incident. More…
“They hate us for our freedoms”
How the FBI Silences Whistleblowers
By John Kiriakou
Posted November 11, 2018
I’m fortunate to have access to the media to talk about torture after blowing the whistle on the CIA’s program. I think Ed Snowden, Tom Drake and others would say the same thing about the aftermath of their own whistleblowing.
The problem is that we are the exception to the rule. Most whistleblowers either suffer in anonymity or are personally, professionally, socially and financially ruined for speaking truth to power. Darin Jones is one of those people. He’s one of the people silenced in Barack Obama’s war on whistleblowers. And he continues to suffer under Donald Trump.
Jones was an FBI supervisory contract specialist who in 2012 reported evidence of serious procurement improprieties to his superior. Jones maintained that Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) had been awarded a $40 million contract improperly because a former FBI official with responsibility for granting the contract then was hired as a consultant at CSC. Jones said, rightly, that this was a violation of the Procurement Integrity Act. He made seven other disclosures alleging financial improprieties in the FBI, and he was promptly fired for his troubles. More…
by Aram Roston
Posted November 10, 2018
A Middle East monarchy hired American ex-soldiers To kill its political enemies. This could be the future of war.
Cradling an AK-47 and sucking a lollipop, the former American Green Beret bumped along in the back of an armored SUV as it wound through the darkened streets of Aden. Two other commandos on the mission were former Navy SEALs. As elite US special operations fighters, they had years of specialized training by the US military to protect America. But now they were working for a different master: a private US company that had been hired by the United Arab Emirates, a tiny desert monarchy on the Persian Gulf.
On that night, December 29, 2015, their job was to carry out an assassination. For months in war-torn Yemen, some of America’s most highly trained soldiers worked on a mercenary mission of murky legality to kill prominent clerics and Islamist political figures. More…
Anti-Terrorism Laws Increasingly Used to Target Indigenous Activists
By Sandra Cuffe
Posted November 8, 2018
The images flew around the world. The teepees. The tear gas. The Indigenous water protectors’ camps. The boots advancing in unison as security forces cracked down on protests at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access pipeline. The defiance. The hundreds of arrests.
“While Sioux leaders advocated for protests to remain peaceful, State law enforcement officials, private security companies and the North Dakota National Guard employed a militarized response to protests,” Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the UN Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples, wrote in a recent report. A mercenary firm had been surveilling the pipeline opposition movement and engaged in military-style counterterrorism measures, according to an investigative report published by The Intercept.
The use of counterterrorism tactics against Indigenous protesters in the US reflects a global trend. More…
Think about this, these mercenaries are people who left the communities they pledged to “protect and serve” to answer a call to “protect and serve” corporate interests in another community, while these same corporate interests were placing local people’s water supplies at serious risk.
How Jury Duty Gives You the Power to Erase Bad Laws
By Joe Jarvis
Posted November 5, 2018
In the United States, all accused criminals have the right to be tried by a jury of their peers.
Adults from the area where an alleged crime was committed are chosen to hear the court case. They have to weigh the evidence. And if they have any reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime, they are supposed to deliver a not guilty verdict.
But not everyone knows that juries can also deliver a not guilty verdict when they disagree with the law.So say all the evidence clearly shows that, for example, a veteran was growing marijuana to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
As a juror, you do NOT have to deliver a guilty verdict, even if you are 100% sure he committed the “crime.” Instead, you can disagree that it should be criminal at all, and say not guilty. More…
America’s new aristocracy lives in an accountability-free zone
by David Sirota
Posted November 4, 2018
Accountability is for the little people, immunity is for the ruling class. If this ethos seems familiar, that is because it has preceded some of the darkest moments in human history.
Our society has been fundamentally altered by a powerful political movement whose goal is not merely another court seat, tax cut or election victory. This movement’s objective is far more revolutionary: the creation of an accountability-free zone for an ennobled aristocracy, even as the rest of the population is treated to law-and-order rhetoric and painfully punitive policy.
Let’s remember that in less than two decades, America has experienced the Iraq war, the financial crisis, intensifying economic stratification, an opioid plague, persistent gender and racial inequality and now seemingly unending climate change-intensified disasters. While the victims have been ravaged by these crime sprees, crises and calamities, the perpetrators have largely avoided arrest, inquisition, incarceration, resignation, public shaming and ruined careers.
That is because the United States has been turned into a safe space for a permanent ruling class. More…
The Diabolical Truth About Mass-Market Cocaine
by Vic Bishop
Posted November 2, 2018
Apparently, it’s a cosmic law that whatever the government wages war against mysteriously becomes exponentially worse. Take drugs, for example. After decades of a brutal and destructive international war, drugs just keep on becoming more prevalent and more dangerous.
But the drug war is part of the zeitgeist, and so we have that strange and terrible dynamic where something that could be potentially be useful and beneficial is forced into the underground where manufacture and distribution are bastardized and taken over by criminals and murderers. More…
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