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Justice Articles from 2020

The Worst Is Yet to Come: Contact Tracing, Immunity Cards and Mass Testing

[Justice]
The Worst Is Yet to Come: Contact Tracing, Immunity Cards and Mass Testing
By John W. Whitehead
Posted June 9, 2020

Delaware police stopIt used to be that unless police had a reasonable suspicion that a person was guilty of wrongdoing, they had no legal authority to stop the person and require identification. In other words, “we the people” had the right to come and go as we please without the fear of being questioned by police or forced to identify ourselves.

Unfortunately, in this age of COVID-19, that unrestricted right to move about freely is being pitted against the government’s power to lock down communities at a moment’s notice. And in this tug-of-war between individual freedoms and government power, “we the people” have been on the losing end of the deal.

Curiously enough, these COVID-19 restrictions dovetail conveniently with a national timeline for states to comply with the Real ID Act, which imposes federal standards on identity documents such as state drivers’ licenses, a prelude to this national identification system. More…

We Crunched the Numbers: Police — Not Protesters — Are Overwhelmingly Responsible for Attacking Journalists

[Justice] [Media]
We Crunched the Numbers: Police — Not Protesters — Are Overwhelmingly Responsible for Attacking Journalists
by Trevor Timm
Posted June 8, 2020

police are now attacking journalistsWe are witnessing a truly unprecedented attack on press freedom in the United States, with journalists are being systematically targeted while covering the nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

The scale of the attacks is so large, it can be hard to fathom. At the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, a project of Freedom of the Press Foundation and the Committee to Protect Journalists, we catalogued 150 press freedom violations in the United States in all of 2019. We are currently investigating 280 from just the last week.

The crisis has rightly generated international outrage. Some have pushed a narrative — fueled by commonly used phrases like “journalists are being attacked by police and protesters alike” — that police and protesters are attacking journalists at relatively equal rates.

Our data shows this is incorrect. Police are responsible for the vast majority of assaults on journalists: over 80 percent. More…

How the Government Hides Secret Surveillance Programs

[Justice]
How the Government Hides Secret Surveillance Programs
by Louise Matsakis
Posted May 30, 2020

illegal government surveillance used in parallel constructionFirst described in government documents obtained by Reuters in 2013, parallel construction is when law enforcement originally obtains evidence through a secret surveillance program, then tries to seek it out again, via normal procedure. In essence, law enforcement creates a parallel, alternative story for how it found information. That way, it can hide surveillance techniques from public scrutiny and would-be criminals.

A new report released by Human Rights Watch Tuesday, based in part on 95 relevant cases, indicates that law enforcement is using parallel construction regularly, though it’s impossible to calculate exactly how often. It’s extremely difficult for defendants to discern when evidence has been obtained via the practice, according to the report. More…

As Chief Prosecutor, Klobuchar Declined to Bring Charges Against Cop that Killed George Floyd

[Justice]
As Chief Prosecutor, Klobuchar Declined to Bring Charges Against Cop that Killed George Floyd
by Alan Macleod
Posted May 28, 2020

Klobuchar poses with Minneapolis Police while announcing a bill to fund more cops on the street.While serving as Minnesota’s chief prosecutor between 1999 and 2007, Klobuchar declined to bring charges against more than two dozen officers who had killed citizens while on duty – including against the cop that killed George Floyd.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, who Joe Biden recently asked to undergo vetting to be his running mate for November, issued a very tepid statement about the incident, describing the police killing of an unarmed black man over an alleged forged check as merely an “officer involved death,” – a copaganda word often used by police as a euphemism for “murder.”

Klobuchar also called for a “complete and thorough outside investigation into what occurred, and those involved in this incident must be held accountable.” However, this is unlikely to occur, in no small part because of Klobuchar herself and the precedent she set while serving as the state’s chief prosecutor between 1999 and 2007. In that time, she declined to bring charges against more than two dozen officers who had killed citizens while on duty – including against Chauvin himself, who shot and killed Wayne Reyes in 2006 and would later go on to shoot more civilians while in uniform. More…

 

The EARN IT Act Violates the Constitution

[Justice][Media]
The EARN IT Act Violates the Constitution
By Sophia Cope, Aaron Mackey, and Andrew Crocker
Posted May 11, 2020

EARN IT Act violates ConstitutionSince senators introduced the EARN IT Act (S. 3398) in early March, EFF has called attention to the many ways in which the bill would be a disaster for Internet users’ free speech and security.

We’ve explained how the EARN IT Act could be used to drastically undermine encryption. Although the bill doesn’t use the word “encryption” in its text, it gives government officials like Attorney General William Barr the power to compel online service providers to break encryption or be exposed to potentially crushing legal liability.

The bill also violates the Constitution’s protections for free speech and privacy. As Congress considers the EARN IT Act—which would require online platforms to comply with to-be-determined “best practices” in order to preserve certain protections from criminal and civil liability for user-generated content under Section 230 (47 U.S.C. § 230)—it’s important to highlight the bill’s First and Fourth Amendment problems. More…

Revealed: Monsanto predicted crop system would damage US farms

[Justice]
Revealed: Monsanto predicted crop system would damage US farms
by Carey Gillam
Posted May 4, 2020

Monsanto spraying fieldThe US agriculture giant Monsanto and the German chemical giant BASF were aware for years that their plan to introduce a new agricultural seed and chemical system would probably lead to damage on many US farms, internal documents seen by the Guardian show.

Risks were downplayed even while they planned how to profit off farmers who would buy Monsanto’s new seeds just to avoid damage, according to documents unearthed during a recent successful $265m lawsuit brought against both firms by a Missouri farmer.

The documents, some of which date back more than a decade, also reveal how Monsanto opposed some third-party product testing in order to curtail the generation of data that might have worried regulators.

And in some of the internal BASF emails, employees appear to joke about sharing “voodoo science” and hoping to stay “out of jail”. More…

Your Fancy Honey Might Not Actually Be Honey

[Community][Justice]
Your Fancy Honey Might Not Actually Be Honey
by Shayla Love
Posted April 17, 2020

Is True Source a money making front?There’s a threat within the honey community that’s intimately entwined with the lives of bees and their beekeepers, one that is largely unknown outside their world: honey fraud.

in a series of lawsuits filed over the last year, honey adulteration is finally being brought out of the shadows. Lawyers are finding consumers who have allegedly bought adulterated honey at their local grocery stores, and having the honey laboratory tested for proof. The accused in their complaints include major brands, and one of the dominant honey certification groups: True Source Honey, an organization that is supposed to guarantee where honey is sourced from so as to guarantee its quality. More…

No Surrender

[Justice] [Political]
No Surrender
by Alleen Brown and Amber Bracken
Posted April 15, 2020

police arrest people protecting their landAfter Police Defend a Gas Pipeline Over Indigenous Land Rights, Protesters Shut Down Railways Across Canada.

On February 10, a helicopter delivered RCMP officers and snowmobiles behind the Unist’ot’en gate. They watched from a hill overlooking the camp as more officers approached from the road. Surrounded on all sides, Tait, her mother, her aunt, and four supporters stood near the barrier, praying and drumming. Tait was the third to be arrested. “Two officers came around me and held my arms to try to prevent me from drumming,” she said. They continued to sing, even as they were loaded into the police van.

While the Canadian government continues to pursue a years long effort to heal its relationship with Indigenous people, for many, the arrests of the Unist’ot’en matriarchs were representative of the government’s unwillingness to take meaningful action toward reconciliation — especially when it comes to land rights. Indeed, documents uncovered by journalists and researchers confirm that officials have strategized furiously about how to prevent the Wet’suwet’en people’s assertion of land rights from getting in the way of the message that Canada is open for business. More…

California Auditor Releases Damning Report About Law Enforcement’s Use of Automated License Plate Readers

[Justice]
California Auditor Releases Damning Report About Law Enforcement’s Use of Automated License Plate Readers
By Dave Maass and Hayley Tsukayama
Posted April 13, 2020

you are in a perpetual lineupCalifornia police and sheriffs are failing to protect the privacy of drivers on city streets, the California State Auditor’s office determined after a seven-month investigation into the use of automated license plate readers (ALPRs) by the Los Angeles Police Department and three other local law enforcement agencies. California State Senator Scott Wiener sponsored the State Auditor’s report.

The report is a damning assessment of how California law enforcement agencies use this mass-surveillance technology, which employs computer-controlled, high-speed cameras mounted on street lights, on top of police cars, or speed-monitoring trailers that automatically capture images of every vehicle that drives by, without drivers’ knowledge or permission. The cameras capture the exact time and place a license plate was seen, and often compares that data point to hot lists of “people of interest” to police. The cameras are capable of capturing millions of data points, which, taken in the aggregate, can paint an intimate portrait of a driver’s life and even chill First Amendment protected activity. More…

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Quotable Sayings

nothing can stop a determined soulThere is no chance, no destiny, no fate that can circumvent or hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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billionaires don't EARN money, they MAKE money

You do not become a billionaire through labor. You become a billionaire through inheritance, corruption or economic rents – or, in most cases, some mixture of all three.

Grace Blakeley

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same puppet master pulling strings on both sides

Mainstream American liberals think they’re clear-eyed because they can see the propaganda strings being pulled by Fox and Donald Trump, and mainstream American conservatives think they’re clear-eyed because they can see the propaganda strings being pulled by MSNBC and the Democrats, but the propaganda strings on both trace back to the same puppet master. And seeing that is just the beginning.

Caitlin Johnstone

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discover your infinite worth

You alone are the judge of your worth and your goal is to discover infinite worth in yourself, no matter what anyone else thinks.

Deepak Chopra

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main stream media propaganda

It is obvious that the US government is destroying Assange to signal to journalists the consequences of publishing information. It is therefore also obvious that any journalist who fails to use whatever platform they have to speak out against Assange’s persecution has no intention of ever publishing anything that the US government doesn’t want published. Their silence on or support for what is being done to this man can and should be taken as an admission that they are nothing other than state propagandists.

Caitlin Johnstone

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Britian's Orwellian tactics against Julian Assange

It’s quite fitting that the – imperially pre-determined – judicial fate of Julian Assange is being played out in Britain, the home of George Orwell.

Pepe Escobar

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