Justice Articles from 2018

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…

Morell’s Virtual Whitewash on the Destruction of CIA Videos

[Justice]
Morell’s Virtual Whitewash on the Destruction of CIA Videos
by Katherine Hawkins and Scott Roehm
Posted May 8, 2018

US executed Japanese soldiers who waterboarded GIsOn Friday, April 20 the CIA declassified a memo, written in 2011 by then-Deputy Director Mike Morell, about the destruction of 92 videotapes of “enhanced interrogations” at the agency’s prison in Thailand. Gina Haspel, President Trump’s nominee to lead the CIA, played a central role in that affair. Morell wrote that “I have found no fault with the performance of Ms. Haspel,” that she “acted appropriately” in drafting the cable authorizing the tapes’ destruction, and that the ultimate decision to destroy them came from Jose Rodriguez, the head of the clandestine service, for whom Haspel served as chief of staff. News organizations ran stories with headlines like “CIA Releases Report Clearing Haspel in Destruction of Waterboarding Tapes”, which the CIA posted on its Twitter feed.

Morell’s memo confirms that Haspel was one of two CIA clandestine service officers directly involved in the tapes’ destruction. It describes Haspel’s “efforts to press for a resolution of the matter,” which appears to corroborate—if euphemistically—then-acting CIA General Counsel John Rizzo’s description of Haspel as one of “the staunchest advocates inside the building for destroying the tapes,” who “would raise the subject almost every week.” More…

26 Reasons Why We Should Pay Attention To Edward Snowden

[Social]
26 Reasons Why We Should Pay Attention To Edward Snowden
by Carey Wedler
Posted May 2, 2018

Edward Snowden worth listening toIn June of 2013, Edward Snowden was the most wanted man in the world as the U.S. government and others frantically attempted to arrest him for leaking documents that exposed the breadth of surveillance imposed upon the public. The Portuguese government even forced a plane carrying Bolivia’s president to be grounded because of rumors that Snowden might be on board.

Snowden has since been living in exile in Russia as U.S. government officials have relentlessly tried to bring him home to prosecute him over alleged violations of the Espionage Act. Former CIA director-turned-secretary of state Mike Pompeo and others have shamed him, calling him a traitor. Pompeo has even called for his execution.

But as the political climate in the U.S. continues to devolve, especially in light of President Trump’s decision to appoint CIA director Mike Pompeo as secretary of state and replace Pompeo with a known proponent of torture, Snowden has been on a Twitter rampage. And he’s not just discussing the CIA and torture. More…

Law Enforcement Groups Gave $420,000 to DA Deciding Whether to Bring Charges Against Cops Who Killed Stephon Clark

[Justice]
Law Enforcement Groups Gave $420,000 to DA Deciding Whether to Bring Charges Against Cops Who Killed Stephon Clark
by Shaun King
Posted April 30, 2018

Anne Marie Schubert Sacramento, California, has been all over the news for the past month, since police shot and killed an unarmed black man, 22-year-old Stephon Clark, in the backyard of his own home on March 18. An independent autopsy conducted at the family’s request showed that Clark was shot six times in the back, according to the Los Angeles Times. As protests over the death raged, activists, both locally and around the country, called for the district attorney there, Anne Marie Schubert, to file charges, or even just make a strong statement on the case. Yet she remained silent.

All the while, Schubert’s political campaigns have benefitted from the largesse of law enforcement unions and associations. According to an analysis by The Intercept, about one-third of the contributions she received across her two campaigns to be Sacramento County’s district attorney — one of which is currently ongoing — came from law enforcement sources or those close to law enforcement. More…

What Standing Rock Gave the World

[Community]
What Standing Rock Gave the World
by Jenni Monet
Posted April 30, 2018

water protectors against corporate greedAmericans saw the Indigenous struggle—the violence, stolen resources, colluding corporations and governments—that goes hand in hand with protecting the Earth.

At the height of the movement at Standing Rock, Indigenous teens half a world away in Norway were tattooing their young bodies with an image of a black snake. Derived from Lakota prophecy, the creature had come to represent the controversial Dakota Access pipeline for the thousands of water protectors determined to try to stop it.

It was a show of international solidarity between the Indigenous Sami and the Lakota. “They got tattoos because of the Norwegian money invested in the pipeline,” said Jan Rune Måsø, editor of the Sami news division of Norway’s largest media company, NRK. More…

And Justice For None

[Justice]
And Justice For None
By Paul Solotaroff
Posted April 26, 2018

prosecutorial misconduct runs rampantInside 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

[Justice]
Canadian authorities charging teenager for downloading public records
By Katitza Rodriguez and Aaron Mackey
Posted April 26, 2018

Canadian teenager charged with downloading public recordsCanadian 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…

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