During their Freedom Hosting
investigation and malware attack last year, the FBI unintentionally obtained the entire e-mail database of popular anonymous webmail service Tor Mail. And now, they've used it in an unrelated investigation to bust a Florida man accused of stealing credit card numbers
. [more inside]
MSNBC's Up with Steve Kornacki
has been collaborating with NJ journalist Brian Murphy
on some investigative journalism about the Chris Christie administration's alleged withholding of Sandy Relief funds until the Mayor of Hoboken agrees to fast-track a real-estate development. Hoboken was one of the hardest-hit communities and has so far received $6 per resident. Christie became governor after leading a US Attorney investigation which convicted NJ politicians of crooked real-estate deals.
Nightmare in Maryville
- The Kansas City Star investigates the backlash against the victims family after rape charges were brought (and dropped) against local atheletes. The pattern of victim blaming and local indiference have brought comparisons
to the Steubenville, Ohio case (previously
) and anger on the internet
. Meanwhile the Grand Jury investigation into Steubenville has brought it's first charges against an adult involved with the cover-up
Over the last year and a half, I have been visiting São Paulo and, especially, Rio de Janeiro, observing the process of “pacification,” by which the government attempts to peacefully enter and reestablish state control over the most violent enclaves of the city, those dominated by drug gangs called traficantes, or by syndicates of corrupt police called militias. Until 2008, when the pacification program started, the traficantes controlled roughly half of the favelas, and the militias the other half. Both still hold power in most favelas. The ultimate aim of the state government of Rio’s plan, called the Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora (UPP), or Police Pacification Unit, is to drive both of these groups out and replace them by the state. (SLNYRB)
Gu Kailai's trial has concluded but no verdict has been delivered.
Many things about the political background of the murder trial, and Gu Kailai's personal motives, remain unclear, although it is said that Gu has not disputed the charge that she killed Neil Heywood. [more inside]
"The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal
: A Fortune investigation reveals that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. How the world came to believe just the opposite is a tale of rivalry, murder, and political bloodlust." [more inside]
lululemon athletica, the "yoga-inspired athletic apparel company
", has rapidly become a brand fixture in the Pacific Northwest since its founding by Chip Wilson
in 1998. Recently, a strange ode to Ayn Rand
appeared on their website, and a "Who Is John Galt?" advertising campaign has adorned company packaging
this November. Meanwhile, one of their employees has been convicted in the bizarre murder
of a co-worker, in which the employees of a neighbouring Apple Store ignored the victim's cries for help.
Following a months-long investigation, the Department of Justice has announced
the existence of a well-funded plot "conceived, sponsored and directed" by "high-ranking members of the Iranian government" to assassinate Saudi Arabian ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir
on U.S. soil in conjunction with informants in Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas
The "Hollywood" plot, revealed in an afternoon press conference
and described in a detailed 21-page complaint [PDF]
, is alleged to have involved an attack on the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, D.C.
One suspect, naturalized American citizen Arbab Arbabsiar, has been arrested, while co-conspirator and Quds Force
member Gholam Shakuri remains at large.
Iranian officials were quick to label the charges a "fabrication"
intended to distract from America's economic troubles.
The Secret History of Guns.
"The Ku Klux Klan, Ronald Reagan, and, for most of its history, the NRA all worked to control guns. The Founding Fathers? They required gun ownership—and regulated it. And no group has more fiercely advocated the right to bear loaded weapons in public than the Black Panthers—the true pioneers of the modern pro-gun movement. In the battle over gun rights in America, both sides have distorted history and the law, and there’s no resolution in sight." [Via]
Want to (dis)prove who killed JFK
? Start with the 5 million pages of material in the National Archives' Assassination Records Collection1
. Better review the 26 volumes of hearings and exhibits published by the Warren Commission
. And each frame of the Zapruder film2
. And just to be on the safe side, the operating manual
for his then top-of-the-line Bell & Howell 414PD camera. (1: previously, but with outdated link. 2: related) [more inside]
Blockbuster: DSK may be freed Friday as the rape case against him collapses
The NYT reports prosecutors found the chambermaid was involved with drug dealers, possible extortion. previously
It started with a warehouse in the town of Milford. Now the investigation of Delaware businessman Christopher Tigani has expanded from a shady land deal to $200,000 in illegal campaign contributions
to everybody from state legislators to Vice President Joe Biden. [more inside]
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives deliberately allowed assault rifles to be smuggled into Mexico
, so they could be tracked. The weapons were then used in a spree of murders, including that of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry
. The operation was called "Fast and Furious". The Mexican government was apparently unaware
of the operation, and is investigating
. The ATF is going to have a review
of whether their strategy supports "the goals of ATF to stem the illegal flow of firearms to Mexico".
Police in Orlando, Florida, frustrated with an "epidemic"
of false allegations of rape, threaten arrest for all future false reports. The problems of this Florida community reflect research
that shows a disproportionately high
rate of false accusations of rape relative to other crimes, though studies on the issue are far from uniform
, and frequently the center of controversy
. [more inside]
Last November 23rd, upwards of 64 people (including at least 34 journalists) were killed
in the Philippines. It has become known as the Maguindanao Massacre
. [more inside]
is an alternative to a cash or surety bond
that allows some criminal defendants to avoid jail while awaiting trial; allowing defendants to continue to work or care for children. [more inside]
was one of the high society news makers in the 80's, considered by some to be on Donald Trump's level. While things have gone alright for the Donald, Khashoggi hasn't done as well... [more inside]
Presidential Crimes: Moving on is not an option.
"In deciding about legal redress, we need to be clear about the large stakes in our decision. The very multiplicity of the apparent crimes, the sheer array of arguably broken laws, is dizzying. But that multiplicity must be faced, for in it we will see that what got in President Bush’s way was not any one law but the rule of law itself. It is the rule of law that has been put in jeopardy by a project of executive domination; it is the rule of law that will continue to be in peril; and it is only, therefore, by addressing the crimes through legal instruments—through a formal, legal arena, and not simply through the electoral repudiation of bad policy—that the grave and widespread damage stands a chance of being repaired."
Thirty-six years after
the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse
recommended that "simple possession" of pot be decriminalised, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has introduced a bill
, co-sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), to remove federal criminal penalties for possession of up to 100 grams (about three-and-a-half ounces) of marijuana and the not-for-profit transfer of up to one ounce (28.3 grams). Drug reform advocates
lit up hailed
the legislation as "an important step toward bringing federal law into line with scientific fact, practical reality and public opinion." Is America, at long last, having a collective moment of sanity?
- Given Saddam Hussein's central place in the American Consciousness over the last couple decades and particularly in recent years, I found 60 minutes' interview with FBI interrogator
George Piro pretty fascinating.
, the US House passed the SAFE Act
. No, not that one
. Points of note:
- If signed into law, the SAFE Act will require people offering WiFi at their cafe, library, or even allowing their neighbours to use it, who notice that someone appears to have viewed certain dirty cartoons
, or pictures of fully-clothed children looking sexy, to immediately make a comprehensive report to John Walsh's CyberTipLine
, and retain the images, or face a fine of up to $150,000.
- ISPs or email services have the same obligations, and must store all data relating to the user's account, to be handed over to the authorities.
- The Democrats rushed the legislation through using a mechanism intended for non-controversial legislation. There was no hearing or committee vote. The legislation changed significantly before the vote and was not available for public review.
- The bill passed 409-2
. Opposed were Paul Broun (R-Georgia) and Ron Paul (R-Texas). The Senate is next, so consider telling them what you think
Al Odah v. U.S. and Boumediene v. Bush go before SCOTUS Streaming on C-Span today.
The Center for Constitutional Rights (great podcast
) will argue before the Supreme Court today:
Immediately after the Supreme Court’s decision in Rasul, The Center for Constitutional Rights and cooperating counsel filed 11 new habeas petitions in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of over 70 detainees. These cases eventually became the consolidated cases of Al Odah v. United Statesand Boumediene v. Bush, the leading cases determining the significance of the Supreme Court’s decision in Rasul, the rights of non-citizens to challenge the legality of their detention in an offshore U.S. military base, and the constitutionality of the Military Commissions Act of 2006.
Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal
by Joel Salatin. This Saturday will mark this article's four year anniversary. Frankly, I was mildly surprised not to have found it mentioned before in MeFi. It's a good read about a sad state of affairs; how our government is turning its own people into outlaws, because freedom has been traded in for an illusion of security. ...but then we already knew that. Don't we?
"John Smith, Youngest, of Crutherland, was given the honorary degree of LL.D in 1840. In 1842 he announced the bequest to the University [of Glasgow] of his runs of publications from learned societies, and his volumes of ephemeral items
. These came to the library on Smith’s death in 1849."
Some examples: Playbill, Theatre Royal, York Street
. Broadsheet account of an attempted prison break
. Radical Party election ballad
. See also: Glasgow Broadside Ballads: cheap print and popular song culture in nineteenth-century Scotland
and Glasgow Broadside Ballads: The Murray Collection
The new war on hunger.
No strangers to controversy
, the Food Not Bombs Network
generated further discord while distributing meals to others. In the course of its work, FNB's food lines often neglect the issue(s) of sanitation disposal.
In response, Legislation has been swiftly drafted to correct problem
; feeding the destitute in public gathering areas has since become a criminal offense
in a number of cities.
Economist Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics
, has long posited
a controversial thesis that legalized abortion help reduced crime, by reducing unwanted children, prone to crime. However, a new paper argues
that Levitt (& Donohue) made serious errors in their research. Properly analysed, abortion has no significant effect on crime. Levitt disagrees
, of course.
The Prison Policy Initiative
conducts research and advocacy on incarceration policy. Some interesting data include the proliferation
of prisons in the US over the last century, disenfranchisement
of potential black voters, global incarceration rates
and percentage of US population under control
of the criminal justice system.
Becoming what you hate : Nathan Sproul, case study in moral relativism on the Religious Right
"former head of the Arizona Republican Party and of the Arizona Christian Coalition....Sproul is connected with the Republican National Committee-funded voter registration organization, Voters' Outreach of America Inc." - Sproul's firm is accused of fraud and the destruction of voter registration forms
. He also failed to pay his workers and his office rent. Rick Perlstein, in the Village Voice, comments on the Sproul scandal : "Both sides are not equally bad, and any reporters who don't recognize that conservatism's very core has become shot through with a culture of mendacity should turn in their press badge.....
It used to be that we could count on the conscience of conservatives to protect our democratic institutions."
I Think (Therefore) I'm Guilty?
A convicted sex offender is barred from public parks and the zoo in Lafayette, Indiana after he revealed to his psychologist that he entertained thoughts of sexual contact with children, while visiting a park. Here's John Doe's history
of arrests and charges for alleged sexual offences.
New York man gets ticket for sitting on a milk crate.
Not, of course, that i take the NY Daily News all that seriously, but still... This is beyond ridiculous (much like a lot of things taking place in New York these days). Makes me ill that I have to wait until 2006 to vote this ridiculous mayor out of office.
Jeb Bush linked to Terror Flight School Owner, whose plane was also seized for Heroin Trafficking.
How can it be that not only is the Bush family linked to the Bin Laden family
, but they just happen to have been travelers on a Lear jet which was seized with a record amount of 30 pounds of heroin
. The owner of the Lear jet coincidentally
, pictured here with Florida Governor Jeb Bush
(which had to be retrieved from Google's diligent cache system since the page has since been removed), also owns the school where the alleged WTC leader Mohammed Atta took flying lessons. Coincidence? Or did Bush Know
Can the current prohibition really be blamed on one guy? First he tells Congress that "marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind
" and then World War 2 comes and farmers are encouraged to grow it
. After the War, he turns around and tells Congress that it could be used by the Russians to make our men lazy and pacifistic. If he had kept his original argument, our men would be insane killers against the Russian army. What would the country be like if there never was a HARRY J. ANSLINGER
today a fellow mexican will be executed in texas
, for killing a cover agent 13 years ago… besides the mexican government, e.u. & u.n. are also calling for clemency; they argue that u.s. authorities denied him legal assistance from the consulate. right now, suárez medina only wants to die. the question is: isn't it better to die than be in prison all your life? i would prefer to be killed instead of living in jail more than 20 years. the sad about suárez medina case is that he has been in jail 13 years from now and anyway he is going to be killed! the texas government should have killed him immediately he was found guilty. “i prefer to die than spend the rest of my life here inside because here there is no life.” said suárez in an interview. in punishment standards i find worst to live in jail forever than being executed. what would be worst for you?
No perp walk for Enron and Halliburton?
Asked to explain why no arrests had been made for these two companies, Larry D. Thompson said, "Some cases are more complex than others."
Does it matter what the penalties are for corporate crime? Seems all you need are the right political connections and an adequately complex scheme to defraud investors and employees. Is the White House protecting corporations with their interpretation of whistle blowers? Aren't preventive measures more appropriate than punishments for these crimes? Does wealth truly create a double standard for prosecution under our legal system?
Do you fear a cyber-attack by Al Qaeda
? Seems that several businesses and governmental system infrastructures have had higher than normal traffic routed from the middleast snooping around protected systems. Is this more political rhetoric for stronger control over electronic transmissions?
Enron's historical precidents.
This L.A. Times article discusses the historical precidents to the Enron debacle. My favorite (among lots of good stuff):
"Like Enron, ITT was a big campaign contributor. But Geneen's idea of how to use political influence made Lay and associates look like choir boys. In 1970, the company offered Republicans $1 million and consulted heavily with the Nixon White House and the CIA when Chile's new socialist president, Salvador Allende, threatened to seize the ITT-owned Chilean Telephone Co. Allende was overthrown with U.S. aid."
If only United States law were this comprehensive.
I got it! Ahhh. . .that's why the US media would even
cover stories like this, and as high rated
newsreader headlines. . .duh.
Reverse propaganda I sez it is.
The Bush Pardons
More pardon fun!... An interesting flip side to the pardon coin.