Justice Articles from 2018

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…

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…

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Quotable Sayings

the lies will soothe your conscience

Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing tactics, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.

Mark Twain

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