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What's that rocket?

Arms Identification With Wikipedia, Holiday Photographs, and Shoe Size Conversion Charts - from the recently launched bellin¿cat 'by and for citizen investigative journalist'. [previously] [more previously]
posted by unliteral on Aug 20, 2014 - 9 comments

Oh No Ross and Carrie

Ross and Carrie are "curious investigators who love asking questions about spirituality, fringe science, religion and the paranormal." They investigate by joining religions, attending events, trying out alternative treatments, and just generally participating in anything weird. [more inside]
posted by jenfullmoon on Aug 18, 2014 - 28 comments

The true measure of a society is how we treat our children

When the Bough Breaks. "Children often can’t tell detectives what happened to them. But their injuries always tell a story. The essence of a child abuse investigation is determining the plausibility of an adult’s story, given the child’s condition. Could the child have sustained the injuries by falling off a bed, tumbling down stairs, or any number of accidents that parents routinely describe? Or does the story fail to account for the injuries?" A profile of Sergeant Brenda Nichols, the head of the Dallas Police Department’s Child Abuse Squad, and one of her cases. (SFW, but the article contains graphic descriptions of child abuse that some readers may find disturbing.)
posted by zarq on Aug 2, 2014 - 17 comments

Resegregation in the American South

The most recent story in ProPublica's Living Apart: Examining America's Racial Divide series is "Segregation Now," which focuses on the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, city school district "and its fleeting experience with the challenges and virtues of integration." But beyond Tuscaloosa, "almost everywhere in the United States, the gains of integration have been eroded. And nowhere has that been more powerfully and disturbingly true than in the South – once home to both the worst of segregation and the greatest triumphs of integration. Freed from the federal oversight that produced integration, schools districts across the 11 former states of the Confederacy have effectively re-instituted segregation for large numbers of black students, in practical terms if not in law." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 17, 2014 - 90 comments

What really happened at the lake that night?

The Murders at The Lake. "In the summer of 1982 the city of Waco was confronted with the most vicious crime it had ever seen: three teenagers were savagely stabbed to death, for no apparent reason, at a park by a lake on the edge of town. Justice was eventually served when four men were found guilty of the crime, and two were sent to death row. In 1991, though, when one of the convicts got a new trial and was then found not guilty, some people wondered, Were these four actually the killers? Several years after that, one of the men was put to death, and the stakes were raised: Had Texas executed an innocent man?" [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 19, 2014 - 18 comments

Straight Menace

"I talked to a lawyer about suing, but there wasn't nothing we could do.... Because [The First 48] shows 'All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty' at the beginning of the program, they're covered."

A&E shirks responsibility for episodes that broadcast incorrect information, and spokespeople confess the channel doesn't re-edit or correct flawed programs beyond stating at a show's end that murder charges were dropped. "We simply film the investigations as they unfold," a spokesperson said. "Every episode states clearly that all individuals are innocent until proven guilty."

posted by frimble on Jan 31, 2014 - 53 comments

"Nothing. You're screwed."

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]
posted by zarq on Jan 27, 2014 - 39 comments

“We will not lie, steal or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does"

Honor and deception: A secretive Air Force program recruits academy students to inform on fellow cadets and disavows them afterward.
posted by no regrets, coyote on Dec 2, 2013 - 33 comments

If you put up posters in the right place, witnesses know.

After 22 years, an arrest has been made in the 1991 murder of "Baby Hope." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Oct 13, 2013 - 30 comments

"We got him."

"Maria Ridulph was 7 when she was kidnapped from a street corner in Sycamore, Illinois, on December 3, 1957. Her kidnapping and murder is the nation's oldest cold case to go to trial. It required family members to turn against one of their own and haunted a small town for 55 years. Even now, the case may not be over." CNN: Taken: The Coldest Case Ever Solved [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 2, 2013 - 85 comments

Whodunit?

Greg Fleniken was a decent, honorable, smart, and successful man whom people liked. The sort of man nobody would murder—yet somebody had. But why? And how had The Body in Room 348 received its internal injuries? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 11, 2013 - 35 comments

Snitches get lines and have to stay behind after school

Until Jackie Parks, Georgia state investigator Richard Hyde had never tried to flip an elementary school teacher. Ms. Parks admitted to Mr. Hyde that she was one of seven teachers — nicknamed “the chosen” — who sat in a locked windowless room every afternoon during the week of state testing, raising students’ scores by erasing wrong answers and making them right. She then agreed to wear a hidden electronic wire to school, and for weeks she secretly recorded the conversations of her fellow teachers for Mr. Hyde.
posted by Sebmojo on Apr 1, 2013 - 40 comments

Copacetic

Unlike a member of the public, the officer gets a "cooling off" period before he has to respond to any questions. Unlike a member of the public, the officer under investigation is privy to the names of his complainants and their testimony against him before he is ever interrogated. Unlike a member of the public, the officer under investigation is to be interrogated "at a reasonable hour," with a union member present. Unlike a member of the public, the officer can only be questioned by one person during his interrogation. Unlike a member of the public, the officer can be interrogated only "for reasonable periods," which "shall be timed to allow for such personal necessities and rest periods as are reasonably necessary." Unlike a member of the public, the officer under investigation cannot be "threatened with disciplinary action" at any point during his interrogation. If he is threatened with punishment, whatever he says following the threat cannot be used against him. Why firing a cop is damn near impossible. Via.
posted by unSane on Oct 25, 2012 - 80 comments

Recommended laboratory procedures

Thousands of drug-related convictions in Massachusetts may be challenged as investigators learn more about improper evidence handling and testing at a Department of Public Health laboratory. Over 50,000 samples related to 34,000 convictions were tested by a single chemist at the lab, who is alleged to have violated multiple laboratory protocols. Governor Deval Patrick's office has identified 1,141 inmates currently serving time in Massachusetts whose convictions may be affected by the investigation. [more inside]
posted by catlet on Sep 25, 2012 - 35 comments

"The FDA recalled more than 60,000 tissue-derived products between 1994 and mid-2007."

"The business of recycling dead humans into medical implants is a little-known yet lucrative trade. But its practices have roused concerns about how tissues are obtained and how well grieving families and transplant patients are informed about the realities and the risks." After an eight month international investigation, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has published an extensive four-part exposé into the black market for cadavers and human tissue: Skin and Bone: The Shadowy Trade in Human Body Parts (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 20, 2012 - 32 comments

"The justice system is invisible, unable to deter or heal."

In July 2007, NPR published a two part series (direct links: 1, 2) about a four year old uninvestigated rape case at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Sparked in part by a 2006 report (pdf) from Amnesty International that included a startling statistic: "One in three Native American women will be raped in her lifetime," NPR's investigation led to the reopening of the case and Congressional hearings. In February 2011, Harper's published an update of sorts: Tiny Little Laws: A Plague of Sexual Violence in Indian Country (Via)
posted by zarq on Jul 6, 2012 - 14 comments

Nixon's Five Wars

Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward: 40 years after Watergate, Nixon was far worse than we thought. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 11, 2012 - 72 comments

A Tale of Two Carlos

Los Tocayos Carlos - a comprehensive investigation by Columbia Law School Professor James Liebman and a team of students which uncovers evidence that Carlos DeLuna, a poor Hispanic man with childlike intelligence who was executed in Texas in 1989, was innocent. The issue of The Columbia Human Rights Law Review, entirely dedicated to this investigation, is available at this website.
posted by Gyan on May 14, 2012 - 42 comments

In the name of Defense.

In December 1974, New York Times reporter Seymour Hersh's front-page account (paywall) of the CIA's MK-ULTRA program documented their illegal domestic intelligence operations against the antiwar movement and other dissident groups in the United States. The article eventually prompted investigations by the Rockefeller Commission and the Church and Pike committees. "There have been other reports on the CIA's doping of civilians, but they have mostly dished about activities in New York City. Accounts of what actually occurred in San Francisco have been sparse and sporadic. But newly declassified CIA records, recent interviews, and a personal diary of [George H. White,] an operative at Stanford Special Collections shed more light on the breadth of the San Francisco operation." SF Weekly: "Operation Midnight Climax: How the CIA doped San Francisco citizens with LSD." MK-ULTRA: Previously on Metafilter. (Via)
posted by zarq on Mar 26, 2012 - 29 comments

“I‘m not lying!”

This past August a murder charge was dismissed against Nga Truong, a young mother who had confessed to Worcester, MA Police interrogators in 2008 that she had smothered and killed her 13 month-old baby, Khyle. A judge later concluded that confession was coerced -- extracted in part by police "deception," "trickery and implied promises" -- and the case was dropped. (pdf). Her case raises questions: What coercive power do detectives have who are driven to extract confessions? Under what circumstances might someone admit to a crime they have not committed? WBUR (Boston's NPR station) investigated Truong's case and has an extensive report, Anatomy of a Bad Confession: Part One and Two [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 10, 2011 - 28 comments

Investigation into Natalie Wood's death re-opened

Homicide detectives who have reopened an investigation into the death of Natalie Wood after three decades said on Friday that the film star's husband, actor Robert Wagner, was not considered a suspect. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Nov 18, 2011 - 48 comments

17 Hours of Russian Animation

MISSING: One elephant. Striped. Big. Polite and good-natured. Loves cod liver oil. [more inside]
posted by Nomyte on Nov 2, 2011 - 30 comments

"There are no national standards or regulations regarding forensic pathology and practices vary widely from place to place."

The Hardest Cases: When Children Die, Justice Can Be Elusive A joint investigation by PBS Frontline, ProPublica and NPR has found that medical examiners and coroners have repeatedly mishandled cases of infant and child deaths, helping to put innocent people behind bars. (Via. (Article contains descriptions of children that have been killed by abuse. May be disturbing / triggering to some readers.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 28, 2011 - 20 comments

The Lazarus File

The Lazarus File. "In 1986, a young nurse named Sherri Rasmussen was murdered in Los Angeles. Police pinned down no suspects, and the case gradually went cold. It took 23 years—and revolutionary breakthroughs in forensic science­—before LAPD detectives could finally assemble the pieces of the puzzle. When they did, they found themselves facing one of the unlikeliest murder suspects in the city’s history." [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 14, 2011 - 60 comments

Bill James Applies His Science to Serial Killers

Bill James, a pioneer in the field of baseball statistics, has now turned his attention to serial killers and their methods.
posted by reenum on May 5, 2011 - 38 comments

Where Do Babies Come From, and Where Do They Go?

Interactive map of international adoptions, from the superlative Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. The site contains an amazing amount of information about corruption in international adoption in countries like Nepal and Vietnam.
posted by the young rope-rider on Apr 19, 2011 - 18 comments

"They asked us who we were, and we told them we were civilians from Kijran district."

A Tragedy of Errors. On Feb. 21, 2010, a convoy of vehicles carrying civilians headed down a mountain in central Afghanistan and American eyes in the sky were watching. "The Americans were using some of the most sophisticated tools in the history of war, technological marvels of surveillance and intelligence gathering that allowed them to see into once-inaccessible corners of the battlefield. But the high-tech wizardry would fail in its most elemental purpose: to tell the difference between friend and foe." FOIA-obtained transcripts of US cockpit and radio conversations and an interactive feature provide a more in-depth understanding of what happened.
posted by zarq on Apr 10, 2011 - 59 comments

Anthrax Redux: Did the Feds nab the wrong guy?

Anthrax Redux. Wired's gripping account of the FBI's investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks.
posted by dudekiller on Mar 26, 2011 - 17 comments

Solving A 1964 Cold Case: Mystery Of Frank Morris

In December 1964, Frank Morris' shoe shop was set ablaze in the middle of the night. Still inside at the time, Morris was severely injured; he died four days later at a nearby hospital in Ferriday, La. Like many Southern crimes against blacks in the 1960s — an era of racial strife dominated by criminal activities by the Ku Klux Klan — the incident went unsolved, despite an FBI investigation at the time.
A vast amount of research and investigation by the Civil Rights Cold Case Project (especially Stanley Nelson on this case) is described in gripping detail in the documentary David Ridgen brings us here called Murder at The Shoe Shop (MP3 download link). [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on Jan 12, 2011 - 2 comments

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Quote Investigator [more inside]
posted by jtron on Jan 6, 2011 - 25 comments

Note: Dubai has video cameras

The Dubai Job: One year ago, an elite Mossad hit squad traveled to Dubai to kill a high-ranking member of Hamas. They completed the mission, but their covers were blown, and Israel was humiliated by the twenty-seven-minute video of their movements that was posted online for all the world to see. Ronen Bergman reveals the intricate, chilling details of the mission and investigates how Israel's vaunted spy agency did things so spectacularly wrong (previously)
posted by allkindsoftime on Jan 5, 2011 - 73 comments

The Case of the Vanishing Blonde

The Case of the Vanishing Blonde
After a woman living in a hotel in Florida was raped, viciously beaten, and left for dead near the Everglades in 2005, the police investigation quickly went cold. But when the victim sued the Airport Regency, the hotel’s private detective, Ken Brennan, became obsessed with the case: how had the 21-year-old blonde disappeared from her room, unseen by security cameras? The author follows Brennan’s trail as the P.I. worked a chilling hunch that would lead him to other states, other crimes, and a man nobody else suspected. [printer-friendly version; behind-the-scenes video; via]

posted by kirkaracha on Nov 19, 2010 - 131 comments

Facebook. Privacy. Again.

The Wall Street Journal's What They Know blog is charged with determining what information marketers are capable of learning about internet users through tracking technology. This weekend, they took aim at Facebook, after their investigation discovered that many popular apps on the social-networking site, including those by Zynga, have been transmitting identifying information in the form of User ID's to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies, even if a user has enabled strict privacy settings. Additional analysis. Response post on Facebook's Developer Blog. Forbes' blogger Kashmir Hill asks if the WSJ is overreacting, and Techcrunch notes that the severity and risks of UID transferral are still being debated.
posted by zarq on Oct 18, 2010 - 56 comments

The crimewave that shames the world

A series of powerful, prescient and englightening essays from the author of 'The Great War for Civilisation' and award winning journalist Robert Fisk on so called 'Honour' killings from this weeks Indy. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Concluding Part 5.
posted by numberstation on Sep 10, 2010 - 11 comments

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) are registered nurses who have special training and experience in forensic evidence collection (conducting “rape kits”) and survivor-centered care. They also increasingly conduct forensic examinations on suspects accused of sexual assault(PDF). There is evidence that, through this work, SANE programs increase the prosecution rates of sexual assault cases. However, as a result of a recent Supreme Court Case, Crawford v. Washington, the role of SANEs is being increasingly curtailed(behind a pay wall). [more inside]
posted by emilyd22222 on Jun 16, 2010 - 57 comments

Copy Machines, a Security Risk?

Armen Keteyian of CBS News bought four copiers for $300 a piece (video link). He found a great deal of personal data on the copiers' hard drives, easily accessible using free software one could find on the Internet. [more inside]
posted by reenum on May 23, 2010 - 62 comments

“We have snakes in the newsroom.”

Cocaine, The CIA, And The Unification Church: A History of Rev. Sun Myung Moon and The Washington's Times influence on Washington and South America by Robert Parry
posted by The Whelk on May 11, 2010 - 14 comments

Mitchell

"I couldn't let these Klansmen get away with murder..." Investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell has started a blog focusing on cold case murders of civil rights workers. In this Moth Podcast, Mitchell discusses some of his investigations, the death threats he received, and the stunning redemption and forgiveness he witnessed. For his work Mitchell was recently awarded a MacArthur "Genius" grant. [more inside]
posted by bguest on Feb 15, 2010 - 18 comments

Citizen (Crowdsourced) Journalism

Is there something you wish would be reported comprehensively by mainstream news media, even though they won't likely touch the topic? Try open-source reporting. From the 2006 experiment NewAssignment, professional journalists, non-profits seeking crowdfunding, and the Internet public have collaborated to do in-depth investigation and reportage of whatever people were interested in. Jay Rosen, founder of ExplainThis, the newest site in crowdsourced journalism, wants a way to answer questions that are too complicated for a Google search. Will these things deliver well-researched thoughtful analysis, or will they be no match for the Green?
posted by divabat on Jan 26, 2010 - 8 comments

Big Investigations from Little ACORNs Grow

ACORN Report Finds No Illegal Conduct : Scott Harshbarger, the former Attorney General of Massachusetts, now of the law firm Proskauer Rose, has recently released an investigative report about accusations that the community organizing group ACORN were caught trying to facilitate prostitution in a sting operation by Young Republicans Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe. The report concludes, "While some of the advice and counsel given by ACORN employees and volunteers was clearly inappropriate and unprofessional, we did not find a pattern of intentional, illegal conduct by ACORN staff." In addition, the report uncovers that Giles and O'Keefe's videos were heavily edited, up to and including substitute voiceovers.
posted by jonp72 on Dec 8, 2009 - 156 comments

U.S. Census Worker Hanged Himself in Kentucky with the Word "Fed" Scrawled Across His Chest

Cancer survivor, teacher, single father, and part-time U.S. Census worker Bill Sparkman was found dead September 12, hanging from a tree with the word "FED" written on his chest. It was actually a suicide. (Previously)
posted by Slap Factory on Nov 24, 2009 - 125 comments

U.S. Census worker found hanged in Kentucky with "FED" scrawled on his chest.

Cancer survivor, teacher, single father, and part-time U.S. Census worker Bill Sparkman was found dead September 12, hanging from a tree with the word "FED" written on his chest.
posted by zoomorphic on Sep 23, 2009 - 314 comments

Federal prosecutors to investigate abusive interrogation cases

Big Newsfilter: US Attorney General Holder appoints a prosecutor to investigate abusive CIA interrogations in the War on Terror. [more inside]
posted by grobstein on Aug 24, 2009 - 134 comments

Operation Pancake

An expose of non-vegan ingredients in pancakes at LA Vegan Thai inspired the QuarryGirl.Com writers to conduct their own extremely thorough investigation of LA vegan restaurants, testing their meals for traces of casein, egg, and shellfish. Over $1000 and a chain of interviews up to Taiwan later, they find that half the restaurants aren't as vegan as they claim, with half registering Positive or High and one registering Overload. Some restaurants vowed to conduct their own tests or requested further assistance; one banned them from the establishment.
posted by divabat on Jul 5, 2009 - 260 comments

The mysterious death of a young hotel chef in China mobilizes thousands

"At 1am on June 19, police and funeral cars arrived at the hotel, wanting to take the body away. 2,000 Shishou residents blocked the hotel entrance to protect Xu's corpse."
posted by sswiller on Jun 21, 2009 - 38 comments

Mother Courage and her Infuseion

The Medill School of Journalism's Washington Program revealed its Pentagon Travel project last week (multimedia). Most privately paid for travel was found to be within the bounds of federal law, but some still show a clear conflict of interest. Key findings: From 1998 through 2007, sources outside the federal government paid for more than 22,000 trips worth at least $26 million. The medical industry paid for more travel than any other outside interest — more than $10 million for some 8,700 trips, or about 40 percent of all outside sponsored travel. Among the targets: military pharmacists, doctors, and others who administer the Pentagon’s $6 billion-plus annual budget for prescription drugs. Medill acquired 10 years worth of trip data and partnered with the Center for Public Integrity to form a searchable database which includes destination, date, sponsor, sponsor nationality, cost of trip or agency.
posted by Smedleyman on Jun 16, 2009 - 3 comments

Reprimands for torture

"An internal Justice Department inquiry into the conduct of Bush administration lawyers who wrote secret memorandums authorizing brutal interrogations has concluded that the authors committed serious lapses of judgment but should not be criminally prosecuted... The report by the Office of Professional Responsibility, an internal ethics unit within the Justice Department, is also likely to ask that state bar associations consider possible disciplinary action, including reprimands or even disbarment, for some of the lawyers involved in writing the legal opinions..." Meanwhile, "former Bush administration officials are launching a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign to urge Justice Department leaders to soften" the report.
posted by Joe Beese on May 5, 2009 - 51 comments

Dawkins Vs. OKlahoma

Richard Dawkins was recently invited to speak at the University of Oklahoma’s Darwin 2009 series of lectures on March 6th, 2009. The speech to be entitled "The Purpose of Purpose" quickly grew in popularity and even had to be moved to a larger venue to accommodate the quickly increasing crowd. Of course, word eventually reached Todd Thompson. Friction ensues. [more inside]
posted by 5imian on Apr 3, 2009 - 103 comments

"A strong hunch, based on a pattern of damning circumstances."

A New York Times investigative report on the case against alleged anthrax terrorist Bruce Ivins: "[U]nless new evidence were to surface, the enormous public investment in the case would appear to have yielded nothing more persuasive than a strong hunch, based on a pattern of damning circumstances, that Dr. Ivins was the perpetrator." [more inside]
posted by availablelight on Jan 4, 2009 - 84 comments

NASA releases Columbia report.

NASA releases the Columbia shuttle disaster report. Space shuttle Columbia broke up during re-entry in 2003 as a result of damage sustained to its thermal protection system. This report details the possible lethal incidents and the investigation board's recommendations based on their findings. [more inside]
posted by herrdoktor on Dec 30, 2008 - 65 comments

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