The latest Dwayne Johnson vehicle, Snitch, has used an activist approach for its marketing campaign in a bid to expose the human damage caused by police activity in the War on Drugs. Meanwhile, the BBC notes that some law enforcement agencies in the US use informants in as many as 90% of their drug cases, with little oversight or consistency. Snitching is now an end in itself: at least 48,895 federal convicts — one of every eight — had their prison sentences reduced in exchange for informing, with much higher rates in certain states. Since the murder of informant Rachel Hoffman in 2008, there has been a growing focus on reforming the business of snitching, what the ACLU calls the "unnecessary evil." [more inside]
Sarah Stillman for the New Yorker on confidential informants and the ends they meet -- "Gaither was tortured, beaten with a bat, shot with a pistol and a shotgun, run over by a car, and dragged by a chain through the woods." [more inside]
Informant, former wiseguy and goodfella Henry Hill (website, Wikipedia) has been made dead by illness. He was not a schnook.
This past November, news broke of a rather odd domestic terror plot that had been broken up by the FBI. Four senior citizens in northern Georgia who met regularly at a local Waffle House, were allegedly planning to spread ricin and botulinum toxin in Atlanta and Washington, DC, in order to kill millions of people and "save the Constitution." But was there ever really a conspiracy?
Civil Rights Photographer Unmasked as Informer. This week, The Commercial Appeal in Memphis published the results of a two year investigation that revealed that iconic Civil Rights photographer Ernest Withers was also a paid FBI informant. The timing of the report is awkward.
The movie adaptation of Mark Whitacre's story, Steven Soderbergh's The Informant, based on the book by Kurt Eichenwald was released last month. Whitacre's life belies easy explanation: a hugely important corporate whistleblower, at some point during the five years he spent informing on agribusiness behemoth Archer Daniels Midland Whitacre embarked on a massive embezzlement scheme that would see him imprisoned for nearly eight and a half years. To this day, the FBI remain divided on whether he is more hero or villain. [more inside]
I'm sorry, WHAT? MSNBC and Newsweek (plus Fox and a few others not in this specific link) are reporting that an FBI agent/informant had a direct link to the 9/11 hijackers- he lived with them.