Today, the Wikimedia Foundation is filing suit against the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the United States. The lawsuit challenges the NSA’s mass surveillance program, and specifically its large-scale search and seizure of internet communications — frequently referred to as “upstream” surveillance.
The Department of Justice has postponed its NPRM on the accessibility requirements of websites for places of public accommodations under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, from March 2015 to June 2015. The NPRM for accessibility requirements of government websites was due in December 2014. [more inside]
Today, the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division released its report on the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department, whose officer, Darren Wilson, shot and killed Michael Brown in August 2014, prompting large-scale, nationwide protests, which only increased following a grand jury's choice not to indict Wilson for the killing. [more inside]
The Urban Institute has released (PDF) the first study to focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) youth; young men who have sex with men (YMSM); and young women who have sex with women (YWSW) who get involved in the commercial sex market in order to meet basic survival needs, such as food or shelter.
The Department of Justice issued a memo today (pdf) stating that the litigation concerning gender identity employment discrimination regarding transgender Americans working in the federal government will be covered under the sex discrimination prohibition in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. [more inside]
Various outlets are reporting that, over the past month, Chase Bank has sent out letters to American porn actors that their Chase accounts will be closed as of May 11. One actress describes discovering her account had been closed without notice. Chase Bank has remained quiet about their actions (other than to tell the customers that their accounts were considered "high risk"), leaving many to wonder why this has happened, seemingly out-of-the-blue. There are indications that the DOJ may be involved.
Debo Adegbile was selected by President Obama to be assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The Senate, aided and abetted by seven Democratic senators, killed his nomination. Why? Because he’s fought for civil rights.
Attorney General Eric Holder will announce tonight at the annual HRC gala that the United States federal government will treat lawful same-sex marriages sweeping equal protection under the law in every program it administers, from courthouse proceedings to prison visits to the compensation of surviving spouses of public safety officers. [more inside]
In 2011, Alabama passed perhaps the country's toughest immigration law, seeking to push undocumented immigrants out (previously). In October 2013, the state agreed to permanently block major portions of the law in response to lawsuits. Two years on, popular opinion and political momentum have largely turned against the law, and the immigrants are mostly still there.
The NSA is handing the Justice Department information, derived from its secret electronic eavesdropping programs, about suspected criminal activity unrelated to terrorism; meanwhile the DEA is using information from NSA programs to launch criminal investigations, and then 'recreating' the trail of investigation in order to hide where the information originated.
The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit yesterday (after a long investigation) against the state of Florida alleging the state is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in its administration of its service system for children with significant medical needs. [more inside]
You know, Stingrays killed the Crocodile Hunter... During the case of United States v. Rigmaiden it was revealed that the DOJ had been using Stingray cell phone trackers concealed in other warrants/without explicit warrants. [more inside]
"There's nothing more aggravating in the world than the midnight sniffling of the person you've decided to hate." ― Shannon Hale, Book of a Thousand Days
The DoJ drops all remaining investigation and prosecution of US War on Terror deaths/murders through harsh tactics/torture: "No Charges Filed on Harsh Tactics Used by the C.I.A." [NYT] Glenn Greenwald reacts and describes the cases that just got dropped. [Guardian] Second link is arguably a violence trigger, but is better and bothers to do things like talk to the ALCU.
With the U.S. Presidential election about 3 months away, and voter ID laws headed to court this Wednesday in Pennsylvania and in other states like Texas and Minnesota, Propublica tells you Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Voter ID Laws. A solution to a nonproblem. [Previously] [more inside]
"The Canadian arm of the aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney closed a six-year U.S. government probe last week by admitting that it helped China produce its first modern attack helicopter ... The prosecution marked 'one of the largest resolutions of export violations with a major defense contractor in the Justice Department's history...'"
The U.S. has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five of the largest publishers, alleging a conspiracy to rig the pricing of e-books. Simon & Schuster, Hachette and HarperCollins have agreed to settle, though Macmillan, Penguin and Apple continue to contest the charges. Some background from WIRED: Bigger Than Agency, Bigger Than E-Books: The Case Against Apple and Publishers
Almost one year after Congressional Republicans tried to limit the definition of rape to only include "force" (previously), the Department of Justice is redefining the term--but this time to to expand it dramatically:
The outdated definition that has been governing national rape statistics since 1929, “the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will,” has been updated to "penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” According to Susan D. Carbon, director of the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, the previous definition “excluded an untold number of victims.” For the first time, men will be included in national rape statistics, as well as those raped while unable to give consent due to intoxication or other mental and physical incapacity.
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.
All I want is to be left alone in my average home... But why do I always feel I'm in the twilight zone?
In August 2011, 35 ACLU affiliates filed 381 requests in 32 states with local law enforcement agencies seeking to uncover when, why and how they are using cell phone location data to track Americans. So how long do American cell phone carriers retain information about your calls, text messages, and data use? According to data gathered by the US Department of Justice, it can be as little as a few days or up to seven years, depending on your provider. (Via / More)
Justice Department (apparently) blocks the merger of AT+T and T-Mobile. The Associated Press is reporting that Justice will block the deal because "would reduce competition and raise prices." [more inside]
Public interests will be harmed absent requiring defendants to make available unencrypted contents in circumstances like these. Failing to compel Ms. Fricosu amounts to a concession to her and potential criminals (be it in child exploitation, national security, terrorism, financial crimes or drug trafficking cases) that encrypting all inculpatory digital evidence will serve to defeat the efforts of law enforcement officers to obtain such evidence through judicially authorized search warrants, and thus make their prosecution impossible.
The "if you were innocent, you'd have nothing to hide" argument rears its head, in a big way. [more inside]
The "if you were innocent, you'd have nothing to hide" argument rears its head, in a big way. [more inside]
Eric Holder has announced a full criminal investigation into the deaths of two detainees in CIA custody. The breaking story is also being reported by Talking Points Memo. This latest development comes as a result of a preliminary DOJ investigation into possible criminal acts stemming from the Bush torture policies that President Obama requested in August 2009, which was broadly criticized at the outset as not going far enough.
Let's find as many suckers as we can as fast as we can, because we'll only make more money as more and more shit hits the fan.
The People vs. Goldman Sachs. Matt Taibbi's latest magnum opus (previous coverage) lays out the full case for federal prosecutions against the Vampire Squid according to Sen. Carl Levin's Senate Subcommittee on Investigations. [Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collapse 650 page pdf].
The FCC and Department of Justice have approved Comcast’s purchase of NBC Universal. The acquisition marks the first time a major television network will be owned by a cable provider. Opponents like Al Franken decry the deal as giving “unprecedented control over the flow of information in America” to a single media conglomerate. FCC news release about conditions imposed on the merger. (Scribd link)
Monday, December 6, 2010: WASHINGTON— “Attorney General Eric Holder announced today the results of Operation Broken Trust, a nationwide operation organized by the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to target investment fraud. To date, the operation has involved enforcement actions against 343 criminal defendants and 189 civil defendants for fraud schemes that harmed more than 120,000 victims throughout the country. The operation’s criminal cases involved more than $8.3 billion in estimated losses and the civil cases involved estimated losses of more than $2.1 billion. Operation Broken Trust is the first national operation of its kind to target a broad array of investment fraud schemes that directly prey upon the investing public.” —Or, well, maybe, perhaps, not so much. [more inside]
Judge Rules "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Is Unconstitutional - Judge Virginia A. Phillips of Federal District Court struck down President Clinton's Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy in an opinion (Scribd) issued late Thursday, ruling on the constitutionality of a complaint brought by the Log Cabin Republicans (PDF). President Obama's Justice Department has until a September 23 deadline to submit objections to the court regarding Judge Phillips's permanent injunction, which is uncertain given Obama's previous support of his Department of Justice defending the legality of DADT, despite his opposition to DADT in principle.
With the passing of Executive Order 13505, Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells, in 2009 President Obama expanded federal funding and rescinded George W. Bush's policies that eliminated most federal funding and restricted human embryonic stem cell research to the use of existing, contaminated cell lines. On Monday, federal judge Royce C. Lamberth blocked this new order after protestations from James L. Sherley, a former scientist with the Boston Biomedical Research Institute, and Theresa Deisher, who operates the Ave Maria Biotechnology Company, which aims to do "pro-life" therapeutic research without the "taint of embryonic or electively aborted fetal materials". [more inside]
New Orleans detective pleads guilty to major coverup of police shootings in aftermath of Katrina. Among other things, Lohman has admitted involvement in planting a handgun at the scene, drafting fake police reports, and lying to federal agents as part of a conspiracy to cover up the truth about a shooting incident in which six unarmed civilians were shot by New Orleans' police. With news of Lohman's guilty plea announcement coming amid a renewed DOJ push to investigate allegations of police abuse in New Orleans, some are wondering who'll be next in front of a jury. (Via TPM.)
The Obama administration has again invoked the state secrets privilege in an effort to dismiss a class action lawsuit challenging government surveillance. The DOJ has also unveiled new procedures for invoking the privilege. This is not the first time the Obama DOJ has taken this position. [more inside]
Beyond even the outrageously broad "state secrets" privilege invented by the Bush administration and now embraced fully by the Obama administration, the Obama DOJ has now invented a brand new claim of government immunity, one which literally asserts that the U.S. Government is free to intercept all of your communications (calls, emails and the like) and -- even if what they're doing is blatantly illegal and they know it's illegal -- you are barred from suing them unless they "willfully disclose" to the public what they have learned. - Glenn Greenwald. [more inside]
The Fed Who Blew the Whistle: Is he a hero or a criminal? Three years after the New York Times first revealed the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program, whistleblower Thomas Tamm has acknowledged his role in making it public. [Via]
"The number of violent crimes in the United States rose for a second straight year in 2006, marking the first sustained increase in homicides, robberies and other serious offenses since the early 1990s..." While violent crimes did increase by 1.3 percent total in 2006 [with robbery making a shocking 11.6 percent rise in the West and murder rising by 2.5 percent in the Northeast], property crimes actually decreased by 2.9 percent overall. The reason for this apparently strange state of affairs? Short answer: nobody knows for sure.
Carol Lam was the first one to receive much publicity. A federal prosecutor fired for not making guns and drugs a top priority. She was also Duke Cunningham's prosecutor. No big deal, she just hadn't prosecuted many cases during her tenure. Except that Lawyers called the firing "virtually unprecedented And FBI people claimed the firing would jeopardize cases. Then there was Daniel Bogden, a federal prosecutor in Nevada was also canned for "fostering low morale". And actually it turns out that as many as many as eight federal prosecutors have been fired in the past two months.
National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) Sometimes, its the unheralded steps, that take you most quickly to your destination. On October 7, 2005, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and their associated domains announced the first release of the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) Version 0.1. NIEM "establishes a single standard XML foundation for exchanging information between DHS, DOJ, and supporting domains, such as Justice, Emergency Management, and Intelligence." The release of this specification, and the development of the systems that utilize it may actually be the cataylst for more 'progress' in information mining on the individual than most other, well publicized efforts. NIEM Mission: "To assist in developing a unified strategy, partnerships, and technical implementations for national information sharing — laying the foundation for local, state, tribal, and federal interoperability by joining together communities of interest." When you say it like that, it sounds sort of cool!
When Taste Politics Meet Terror: The Critical Art Ensemble on Trial. Steve Kurtz was previously discussed here. [Via Disinformation.]
"It's clear the government hasn't thought through what it's doing." The war? No, he's talking about the DOJ tobacco trial, which is wrapping up with government lawyers suddenly and inexplicably dropping the penalty against Big Tobacco companies from $130bn to just $8bn. A far cry from the $280bn originally sought. More inside.
DOJ coup d'etat. Ashcroft is gone. Now, six days before the confirmation hearings of Alberto Gonzales, the acting Attorney General, Daniel Levin, issues a new official memo (pdf)on torture, reversing and specifically repudiating the definitions of torture from the August 2002 memo addressed to Gonzales. The new memo states, among other things,
'we disagree with statements in the August 2002 Memorandum limiting "severe" pain under the statute to "excruciating and agonizing" pain [...] or to pain "equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death'
Shiver me illegally-harvested timbers! Why dust off a law used only twice, most recently 114 years ago? Because you have a grand jury and you can. The alleged sailor-mongerers have issued a statement on their website.
Operation Fastlight: Piracy Crackdown   Let the international war on Piracy begin. DOJ rules for computer seizures. Targetted Groups: Fairlight, Kalisto, Echelon, Class, Project X and APC. Overview of the warez scene. Previous anti-warez operation - buccaneer.
Watching Justice -- a new blog keeping an eye on the Dept. of Justice, drawing on the research and insight of a vast list of organizations, from the ABA to the Violence Policy Center, and brought to us by Soros' Open Society Institute.
DOJ Asked FBI Translator To Change Pre 9-11 Intercepts --- FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, was offered a substantial raise and a full time job in order to not go public that she had been asked by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to retranslate and adjust the translations of [terrorist] subject intercepts that had been received before September 11, 2001 by the FBI and CIA. "My translations of the pre 9-11 intercepts included [terrorist] money laundering, detailed and date specific information enough to alert the American people, and other issues dating back to 1999 which I won't go into right now." Incredibly, Edmonds said "The senate Judiciary Committee, and the 911 Commission have heard me testify for lengthy periods of time time (3 hours) about very specific plots, dates, airplanes used as weopons, and specific idividuals and activities." Is this true? and OMFG
Reading this article in the American Conservative Magazine regarding the Secret Service's use of "Free Speech Zones" drew my attention to the case of USA v. Bursey. (more inside)
Attorney General Is Closely Linked to Inquiry Figures Karl Rove, President Bush (news - web sites)'s top political adviser, whose possible role in the case has raised questions, was a paid consultant to three of Mr. Ashcroft's campaigns in Missouri, twice for governor and for United States senator, in the 1980's and 1990's, an associate of Mr. Rove said on Wednesday. Jack Oliver, the deputy finance chairman of Mr. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign, was the director of Mr. Ashcroft's 1994 Senate campaign, and later worked as Mr. Ashcroft's deputy chief of staff. No wonder 69% of Americans think that an independent counsel should conduct the investigation.
Anti-sanctions group sanctioned. Anti Iraq-sanctions group Voices in the Wilderness is being sued by the U.S. Department of Justice for bringing relief supplies to Iraq before the war. ViTW has issued an initial response and filed an answer and counterclaim. Does the DoJ have a leg to stand on? What moral and legal obligations do we have to refrain from giving aid and comfort to "enemy" civilians? How about if they live in sunny Cuba?
DOJ Introduces New Threat Levels Citizens should be alert, but continue to go about their normal daily spending activities.
You've got jail? The SEC is no longer alone in investigating accounting irregularities at AOL Time Warner. Tonight the "world's leading media and entertainment company" confirmed that the U.S. Justice Dept. has opened its own probe. This, one day after President Bush signed the so-called Corporate and Auditing Accountability, Responsibility, and Transparency Act (pdf of HR 3763) (summary). Tonight, however, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, including Senators Patrick Leahy, D-Vt and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa are criticizing the President for trying to weaken the corporate fraud bill before the ink is even dry.
Philip Morris vs. the Patriot Act? According to this article in The Nation, back in October the tobacco industry convinced the White House and Tom DeLay to arrange the omission of a specific section of the Patriot Act on money laundering. It had been requested by the DOJ, but it would have made some tobacco companies vulnerable to lawsuits they were facing from several foreign governments (the full story behind those lawsuits is here.) The smuggling charges are bad enough, but that the tobacco industry has a say in defining national security, if true, is infuriating. It also makes the enthusiasm with which the Patriot Act powers are being used to monitor consumers a galling double standard.
Register as a Patriot! Quote: As part of the Bush Administration's ongoing efforts to obliterate all traces of terrorism in the United States, the Department of Justice has commenced registration* of each and every American Patriot. By registering all non-terrorists within our borders, it is our intention to make use of the process of elimination to identify the evil ones who walk among us. If you are a non-terrorist (American Patriot), your participation is required. " (It's a joke kids, John Ashcroft doesn't really expect you to register...yet.)
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