As of June 27th, we're $4,500 in the red for 2016. Please donate here to support this vital work.
Subscribe here to our free email list

Civil Liberties News Stories
Excerpts of Key Civil Liberties News Stories in Major Media


Below are highly revealing excerpts of important civil liberties news stories reported in the media that suggest a major cover-up. Links are provided to the full stories on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These civil liberties news stories are listed by date posted to this webpage. You can explore the same articles listed by order of importance or by article date. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

Note: This comprehensive list of civil liberties news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.


Terror watch lists have grown dramatically since 9/11
2016-06-17, Washington Post
Posted: 2016-06-26 20:50:34
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/terror-watch-lists-hav...

The push by congressional Democrats to bar suspected terrorists from acquiring guns and explosives has focused renewed attention on the government’s secretive terrorist watch lists, which have grown exponentially since the 9/11 attacks. Since the mass shooting in a gay nightclub in Orlando on June 12, Democrats have endorsed various measures to get weapons out of the hands of people on the lists. The Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, had been on the FBI’s terrorist watch list but was removed in 2014. His was one of approximately 800,000 names in that database, the most prominent of at least seven overlapping watch lists. The government does not release the exact number of watch lists or the specific criteria for getting on them. The no-fly list ... contained 16 people on Sept. 11, 2001. By 2014, it had grown to about 64,000 people. Civil liberties advocates [say] the watch lists are riddled with inaccurate and outdated information, nearly impossible to get off and stigmatize the people on them. The largest watch list is The Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE), maintained by the National Counterterrorism Center. As of August 2014, it contained about 1.1 million names. The FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center ... maintains what is known as the government’s "consolidated Terrorist Watchlist." It contains about 800,000 names. Last year, [a] federal judge ruled that the government’s lack of effective procedures for people to challenge their inclusion on the no-fly list was unconstitutional.

Note: A 2013 New York Times article further describes the rapid expansion of these mysterious lists, which are made according to secret rules. Some people have reportedly been added to watch lists by federal air marshals simply to meet quotas. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.


Cleveland Bans Soapboxes and Sleeping Bags, Not Guns, Near Republican Convention
2016-06-22, The Intercept
Posted: 2016-06-26 20:48:14
https://theintercept.com/2016/06/22/cleveland-gears-up-for-republican-convent...

Anyone venturing into a 3.3-square-mile “event zone” surrounding next month’s Republican National Convention will be prohibited from carrying tennis balls, tape, rope, bike locks, sleeping bags, or any object they could stand on to rise above the crowd and speak. But if they have a license, they’ll be permitted to openly carry real guns, including assault weapons. The restrictions imposed on the large event zone drawn around Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena ... have earned the city a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Ohio and widespread criticism. “It’s the first time I’ve gone to a protest where there’s been so much talk of guns and the fact that people can carry them legally,” said [activist] John Penley. “They throw pro- and anti-Trump protesters together, and throw in the fact that maybe people will be carrying weapons. It seems like what they want to do is increase the chances for conflict.” Cleveland received a $50 million federal grant to gear up for the RNC. The city has obtained ... 10,000 sets of flex cuffs; “nonlethal munitions” like bean bag pellets; pepper spray; 2,000 sets of riot gear; 2,000 retractable steel batons; 3.7 miles’ worth of steel barriers; as well as ... video surveillance equipment, laptops, night vision devices, and 16 Pointer Illuminator Aiming Lasers, which a technology retailer describes as being used for “night direct-fire aiming and illumination.” The convention center itself is under the control of the Secret Service, which has imposed a separate set of restrictions, including a ban on weapons.

Note: New York City in 2014 agreed to pay $18 million to settle lawsuits brought by hundreds of people illegally arrested at the 2004 RNC. Non-lethal weapons including a noise gun originally developed for military use may be used at this year's RNC in Cleveland.


The Supreme Court winks at an illegal police stop
2016-06-21, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2016-06-26 20:45:58
http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-police-stop-20160620-snap-sto...

At a time of justified concern about arbitrary police stops, the Supreme Court on Monday made such harassment more likely. By a 5-3 vote, the court upheld the search of a drug defendant that grew out of a stop that the state conceded was unlawful. The decision in a Utah case pokes yet another hole in an important principle: that courts may not consider evidence that is the result of an illegal search or seizure – the so-called “fruit of the poisonous tree.” Edward Strieff was stopped by a police officer after he walked out of a house in South Salt Lake City. After Strieff identified himself, the officer ran his name through a database and discovered an outstanding arrest warrant for a traffic violation. The officer then arrested Strieff on that charge and searched him, finding a bag containing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. The state subsequently admitted that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion to stop Strieff, as required under Supreme Court interpretations of the 4th Amendment. Writing for the majority, Justice Clarence Thomas concluded that it didn’t matter if the officer had no basis on which to stop Strieff; the evidence was admissible anyway. The decision could have far-reaching consequences. As Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a powerful dissent: “This case allows the police to stop you on the street, demand your identification, and check it for outstanding traffic warrants - even if you are doing nothing wrong. If the officer discovers a warrant for a fine you forgot to pay, courts will now excuse his illegal stop.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about judiciary corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


Ivy League economist ethnically profiled, interrogated for doing math on American Airlines flight
2016-05-07, Washington Post
Posted: 2016-05-16 01:20:53
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/rampage/wp/2016/05/07/ivy-league-economis...

A 40-year-old man - with dark, curly hair, olive skin and an exotic foreign accent - boarded a plane. The curly-haired man tried to keep to himself, intently ... scribbling on a notepad he’d brought aboard. His seatmate ... looked him over. Something about him didn’t seem right to her. He appeared laser-focused [on] those strange scribblings. Shortly after boarding had finished, she flagged down a flight attendant and handed that crew-member a note. The plane turned around and headed back to the gate. The woman was soon escorted off the plane. [Then] the pilot came by, and approached the ... darkly-complected foreign man. He was now escorted off the plane, too, and taken to meet some sort of agent, though he wasn’t entirely sure of the agent’s affiliation. What do you know about your seatmate? The agent asked the foreign-sounding man. Well, she acted a bit funny, he replied. And then the big reveal: The woman [had seen] her seatmate’s cryptic notes, scrawled in a script she didn’t recognize, [and alerted] the authorities. The curly-haired man was, the agent informed him politely, suspected of terrorism. The curly-haired man laughed. Those scribbles weren’t Arabic, or ... some special secret terrorist code. They were math. Yes, math. A differential equation, to be exact. This good-natured, bespectacled passenger - Guido Menzio - is a young but decorated Ivy League economist. Last year he was awarded the prestigious Carlo Alberto Medal, given to the best Italian economist under 40.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.


Federal judge allows former CIA detainees to sue over torture
2016-04-22, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2016-05-16 01:18:56
http://www.latimes.com/world/afghanistan-pakistan/la-na-cia-torture-lawsuit-2...

For the first time, a federal judge is letting a civil lawsuit proceed against two CIA contract psychologists who designed and supervised brutal interrogation tactics that critics called torture. The ruling allows two former CIA detainees and the family of another who died in agency custody to try to win damages in federal court for the abuse they suffered at then-secret CIA prisons in the early 2000s. According to the lawsuit and a Senate Intelligence Committee report, the mistreatment included waterboarding, sleep deprivation, confinement in small boxes, rectal feeding and beatings. As the lawsuit progresses, it may shed more light on the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques that the CIA used in an effort to collect intelligence ... after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. “It’s unprecedented,” [said] Dror Ladin, the American Civil Liberties Union attorney who argued the plaintiffs' case in court. “No CIA torture victim has ever taken this step toward accountability. Every previous lawsuit has been shut down before this stage. “It gives our clients a chance to ... finally get some justice,” he said. The Department of Justice had blocked previous lawsuits aimed at the CIA's now-barred detention and interrogation program on grounds that any case could reveal secrets and compromise national security. That changed after the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report in December 2014 that exposed details about the program, including the role played by [psychologists Bruce] Jessen and [James E.] Mitchell.

Note: Read more in this ACLU article. For more along these lines, read about how the torture program fits in with a long history of human experimentation by corrupt intelligence agencies working alongside unethical scientists. For more, see this list of programs that treated humans as guinea pigs.


Native Lives Matter, Too
2015-10-13, New York Times
Posted: 2016-05-08 18:01:16
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/13/opinion/native-lives-matter-too.html?_r=0

American Indians are more likely than any other racial group to be killed by the police, according to the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, which studied police killings from 1999 to 2011. But apart from media outlets like Indian Country Today, almost no attention is paid to this pattern of violence against already devastated peoples. When it comes to American Indians, mainstream America suffers from willful blindness. Economic and health statistics, as well as police-violence statistics, shed light on the pressures on American Indian communities and individuals: Indian youths have the highest suicide rate of any United States ethnic group. Adolescent women have suicide rates four times the rate of white women in the same age group. Indians suffer from an infant mortality rate 60 percent higher than that of Caucasians. At the root of much of this is economic inequality: Indians are the poorest people in the United States. Today’s avoidable tragedies of oppressed Indian lives and troubled deaths remain far too often in the shadows. At this moment, when black Americans are speaking up against systemic police violence, and their message is finally being carried by virtually every major news source, it’s time we also pay attention to a less visible but similarly targeted minority: the people who lived here for many thousands of years before this country was founded, and who also have an unalienable right to respect and justice.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on civil liberties and income inequality from reliable major media sources.


NSA and CIA Double Their Warrantless Searches on Americans in Two Years
2016-05-03, The Intercept
Posted: 2016-05-08 17:57:27
https://theintercept.com/2016/05/03/nsa-and-cia-double-their-warrantless-sear...

From 2013 to 2015, the NSA and CIA doubled the number of warrantless searches they conducted for Americans’ data in a massive NSA database ostensibly collected for foreign intelligence purposes, according to a new intelligence community transparency report. The estimated number of search terms “concerning a known U.S. person” to get contents of communications within what is known as the 702 database was 4,672 - more than double the 2013 figure. And that doesn’t even include the number of FBI searches on that database. A recently released ... court ruling confirmed that the FBI is allowed to run any number of searches it wants on that database, not only for national security probes but also to hunt for evidence of traditional crimes. No estimates have ever been released of how often that happens. The missing data from the FBI is of great concern to privacy advocates. The USA Freedom Act, passed in June 2015, “conspicuously exempts the FBI” from disclosing how often it searches the 702 database, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) wrote in a letter to the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, in October 2015. “There is every reason to believe the number of FBI queries far exceeds those of the CIA and NSA,” POGO wrote. “It is essential that you work with the attorney general to release statistics on the FBI’s use of U.S. person queries.” The new report also leaves unanswered how many Americans’ communications are collected in the first place.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


FBI snooped on singer Pete Seeger for 20 years
2015-02-19, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2016-05-08 17:55:42
http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/dec/20/fbi-spied-on-pete-seeger-20-year...

Pete Seeger, composer of classic American folk tunes including "If I Had a Hammer" and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?", was spied on by FBI agents for more than two decades because he wrote a protest letter as a young man concerned about plans to deport tens of thousands of Japanese American citizens at the end of the second world war. A vast file on Seeger was released ... in response to a request under the freedom of information act. The bureau’s spies first took an interest in the singer in 1943, [and continued] into the early 1970s. The suspicion was that Seeger, who died in early 2014, was a security risk with close connections to the Communist party. The FBI file on him has nearly 1,800 pages – 90 of them are still withheld for security reasons. Throughout the 1950s, when Seeger was part of the Weavers folk group, the bureau commissioned hundreds of reports on him. As the Weavers scored chart hits, Seeger was blacklisted for his suspected Communist party links. In 1955 he was called before the House Committee on un-American Activities and asked if he was a communist. “I am not going to answer any questions as to my associations, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs or how I voted in any election or any of these private affairs,” Seeger replied. Two years later he was cited for contempt of Congress and then, four years later, found guilty and sentenced to a year in prison. Let free on bail, Seeger’s conviction was overturned a year later.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing intelligence agency corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Coaxing Police To Share Data On Officers' Conduct
2016-04-22, NPR
Posted: 2016-05-02 23:21:06
http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/04/22/475312581/coaxing-police-to...

There are no good national numbers on police conduct. Even the government's most basic statistic - the number of people killed by police - [is] way off. The White House says it wants to change that with the Police Data Initiative ... whose final report called for greater data transparency as a means to build trust between police and communities. The Police Data Initiative encourages departments to anticipate the kind of numbers their communities want to see, and provide them, preferably in database format. As an example, the White House cites the online data portal on police shootings set up by the Dallas Police Department. But there's a caveat, here: This is all voluntary. The White House says 53 jurisdictions so far have pledged to share this kind of data. But an additional 17,000 or so law enforcement agencies have not yet signed on, and they account for about 85 percent of the country's population. Openness to providing data seems to be most prevalent in police departments that are already in cooperative relationships with the federal government. Many of them receive federal grants, observes David L. Carter, a professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. "In many cases, progressive police executives feel it's 'the right thing to do,' and will volunteer," says Carter in an email. But he thinks others may take a pass. The result? There may be good stats on places like LA and Dallas, while thousands of smaller communities ... will continue to be white spaces on the statistical map.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and civil liberties.


Microsoft sues government for secret searches
2016-04-14, CNN
Posted: 2016-04-24 23:05:33
http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/14/technology/microsoft-secret-search-lawsuit/

Microsoft filed a landmark lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday. The company accuses the federal government of adopting a widespread, unconstitutional policy of looking through Microsoft customers' data - and forcing the company to keep quiet about it. Over the past 18 months, federal judges have approved 2,600 secret searches of Microsoft customers. In two-thirds of those cases, Microsoft can't even notify their customers that they've been searched - ever - because there's no expiration date on these judicial orders. At issue here is the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which creates a double standard when it comes to a person's right to know when police are rummaging through their stuff. "People do not give up their rights when they move their private information from physical storage to the cloud," Microsoft says in its lawsuit. "The government, however, has exploited the transition to cloud computing as a means of expanding its power to conduct secret investigations." In its lawsuit, Microsoft claims that federal agents have been violating the company's First Amendment right to speak to its own customers, as well as their customers' Fourth Amendment right to know when they're being searched. This lawsuit also notes the odd, modern distinction that the government makes between searching your computer and searching your information on a company's computer. Law enforcement agents often remain covert when they dig through information stored on company data backup services.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


Pennsylvania Seeks to Close Books on "Kids for Cash" Scandal
2015-08-12, NBC
Posted: 2016-04-11 09:47:49
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/pennsylvania-seeks-close-books-kids-cash-...

One of the biggest corruption scandals to hit America's juvenile justice system began unfolding in 2007, when parents in a central Pennsylvania county began to complain that their children had been tossed into for-profit youth centers without a lawyer to represent them. The kickback scheme, known as "kids for cash," has resulted in prison terms for two Luzerne County judges and two businessmen. Convictions of thousands of juveniles have been tossed out. Now the case is entering its final chapter: a few remaining class action lawsuits. One of those claims drew to a close ... when a federal judge signed off on a settlement in which one of the businessmen, Robert Powell, would pay $4.75 million. Powell, who co-owned two private juvenile justice facilities, served an 18-month prison term after admitting to paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to former ... Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. and his boss, Judge Michael Conahan. In return, Ciavarella routinely found children guilty and sent them to Powell's facilities. Ciavarella was convicted in 2011 of racketeering and other charges, and sentenced to 28 years in prison. Conahan, a friend of Powell's who oversaw the scam, pleaded guilty to racketeering and was sentenced to more than 17 years behind bars. A fourth conspirator ... pleaded guilty for his part in the plot and was sentenced to a year in prison.

Note: More than 5,000 kids were exposed to a court that jailed them for profit in this conspiracy involving just a handful of corrupt officials. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and civil liberties.


CIA photographed detainees naked before sending them to be tortured
2016-03-28, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2016-04-04 19:09:00
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/mar/28/cia-photographed-naked-detainees

The CIA took naked photographs of people it sent to its foreign partners for torture. A former US official who had seen some of the photographs described them as “very gruesome”. In some of the photos, which remain classified, CIA captives are blindfolded, bound and show visible bruises. Some photographs also show people believed to be CIA officials or contractors alongside the naked detainees. It is not publicly known how many people ... were caught in the CIA’s web of so-called “extraordinary renditions”, extra-judicial transfers of detainees to foreign countries, many of which practised even more brutal forms of torture than the US came to adopt. Human rights groups over the years have identified at least 50 people the CIA rendered, going back to Bill Clinton’s presidency. “Is the naked photography a form of sexual assault? Yes. It’s a form of sexual humiliation,” said Dr Vincent Iacopino, the medical director of Physicians for Human Rights. “It’s cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment at a minimum and may constitute torture,” he said. International human rights law, to include the Geneva conventions, forbids photographing prisoners except in extremely limited circumstances related to their detention, to include anything that might compromise their dignity. The CIA is known to have employed nudity in other aspects of its custody of terrorism suspects. Often the nudity occurred in tandem with other torture techniques, such as shackling and frigid conditions, leading in at least one case to a detainee’s death.

Note: For more along these lines, see the "10 Craziest Things in the Senate Report on Torture". For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the intelligence community.


The feds have resumed a controversial program that lets cops take stuff and keep it
2016-03-28, Washington Post
Posted: 2016-04-04 19:06:35
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/03/28/the-feds-have-resumed-...

The Justice Department has announced that it is resuming a controversial practice that allows local police departments to funnel a large portion of assets seized from citizens into their own coffers under federal law. The "Equitable Sharing Program" gives police the option of prosecuting some asset forfeiture cases under federal instead of state law. Federal forfeiture policies are more permissive than many state policies, allowing police to keep up to 80 percent of assets they seize. Asset forfeiture is a contentious practice that lets police seize and keep cash and property from people who are never convicted of wrongdoing - and in many cases, never charged. Use of the practice has exploded in recent years, prompting concern that, in some cases, police are motivated more by profit and less by justice. A wide-ranging Washington Post investigation in 2014 found that police had seized $2.5 billion in cash alone without warrants or indictments since 2001. In response, then-Attorney General Eric Holder announced new restrictions on some federal asset forfeiture practices. Asset forfeiture is fast growing - in 2014, for instance, federal authorities seized more than $5 billion in assets. That's more than the value of assets lost in every single burglary that year. Reformers had hoped that the suspension of the program in December was a signal that the Justice Department was looking for ways to rein in the practice. But that no longer appears to be the case.

Note: Some police decide what property to seize based on departmental "wish lists". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


The U.S. Government Is Still Fighting to Bury the Senate Torture Report
2016-03-17, The Intercept
Posted: 2016-03-27 20:26:02
https://theintercept.com/2016/03/17/the-u-s-government-is-still-fighting-to-b...

Government lawyers on Thursday continued their fight to bury the Senate Torture Report, arguing before the D.C. District Court of Appeals that the 6,700-page text could not be released on procedural grounds. When the 500-page executive summary of the report was released more than a year ago, it prompted international outcry and renewed calls for prosecution. The summary describes not only the CIA’s rape and torture of detainees, but also how the agency consistently misrepresented the brutality and effectiveness of the torture program. But many of the most graphic details are in Volume III of the full report, which former Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein has said contains “excruciating” details on “each of the 119 known individuals who were held in CIA custody.” On the same day the executive summary was released, the Intelligence Committee sent copies of the full report to executive branch agencies with instructions ... that they be used “as broadly as appropriate to make sure that this experience is never repeated.” Last year, after succeeding Feinstein as chair, Sen. Richard Burr, R-Ga., requested that the copies distributed to federal agencies be returned to Congress, prompting a legal standoff. In the meantime ... the Justice Department has “refuse[d] to allow executive branch officials to review the full and final study.”

Note: For more along these lines, see the "10 Craziest Things in the Senate Report on Torture". For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the intelligence community.


U.S. police escape federal charges in 96 percent of rights cases
2016-03-13, Reuters
Posted: 2016-03-20 22:35:12
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-police-idUSKCN0WF0KM

Federal prosecutors declined to bring charges against law enforcement officers in the United States facing allegations of civil rights violations in 96 percent of such cases between 1995 and 2015, according to an investigation by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review newspaper. The newspaper examined nearly 3 million U.S. Justice Department records related to how the department's 94 U.S. attorney's offices across the country ... handled civil rights cases against officers. The data included cases referred to the Justice Department by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies. Overall, prosecutors turned down 12,703 potential civil rights violations out of 13,233 total complaints. By contrast, prosecutors rejected only about 23 percent of referrals in all other types of criminal cases. The findings could bolster arguments by activists, such as those involved in the Black Lives Matter movement, who claim police officers are rarely held criminally responsible for their misconduct. The report comes just days after the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, announced he would not press charges against a white officer who killed an unarmed black teenager inside his own apartment in 2012. The most common reasons that prosecutors cited for declining to bring civil rights cases against officers were weak or insufficient evidence, lack of criminal intent and orders from the Justice Department.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


Surprise! NSA data will soon routinely be used for domestic policing that has nothing to do with terrorism
2016-03-10, Washington Post
Posted: 2016-03-20 22:33:28
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2016/03/10/surprise-nsa-data...

The “sneak-and-peek” provision of the Patriot Act that was alleged to be used only in national security and terrorism investigations has overwhelmingly been used in narcotics cases. Now the New York Times reports that National Security Agency data will be shared with other intelligence agencies like the FBI without first applying any screens for privacy. The ACLU of Massachusetts blog Privacy SOS explains [that] domestic law enforcement officials now have access to huge troves of American communications, obtained without warrants, that they can use to put people in cages. This basically formalizes what was already happening. We’ve known for a couple of years now that the Drug Enforcement Administration and the IRS were getting information from the NSA. Because that information was obtained without a warrant, the agencies were instructed to engage in “parallel construction” when explaining to courts and defense attorneys how the information had been obtained. It certainly isn’t the only time that that national security apparatus has let law enforcement agencies benefit from policies that are supposed to be reserved for terrorism investigations in order to get around the Fourth Amendment, then instructed those law enforcement agencies to misdirect, fudge and outright lie about how they obtained incriminating information. This isn’t just a few rogue agents. The lying has been a matter of policy.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


Justice Department warns local courts about unlawful fines and fees
2016-03-14, Washington Post
Posted: 2016-03-20 22:30:58
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/justice-department-war...

The Justice Department is asking local courts across the country to be wary of how they slap poor defendants with fines and fees. In a letter ... to the chief judges and court administrators in all 50 states, Vanita Gupta, the head of the department’s Civil Rights Division, and Lisa Foster, director of the Office for Access to Justice, wrote that illegal enforcement of fines and fees had been receiving increased attention. “Individuals may confront escalating debt; face repeated, unnecessary incarceration for nonpayment despite posing no danger to the community; lose their jobs; and become trapped in cycles of poverty that can be nearly impossible to escape,” Gupta and Foster wrote. “Furthermore, in addition to being unlawful, to the extent that these practices are geared ... toward raising revenue, they can cast doubt on the impartiality of the tribunal and erode trust between local governments and their constituents.” The White House and the department convened a summit on the issue in December. The Justice Department alleged in a recent lawsuit that officers in Ferguson, Mo., were violating citizens’ civil rights in part because their policing tactics were meant to generate revenue. The financial penalties - typically for minor misdemeanors, traffic infractions or violations of city code - disproportionately affect the poor, who cannot afford to pay immediately and are then hit with arrest warrants or additional penalties. Some towns [derive] 40 percent or more of their annual revenue from [these] petty fines and fees.

Note: Along with relying on municipal fines and fees that disproportionately impact the poor, some police departments simply steal from people when times get tough. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and income inequality.


Judicial errors take high toll on inmates, taxpayers, report says
2016-03-09, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2016-03-14 19:23:11
http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Judicial-errors-take-high-toll-on-inmates...

692 felony convictions in California ... were thrown out between 1989 and 2012 based on errors or misconduct by police, prosecutors, defense lawyers or judges, according to a new study by researchers at UC Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania. The report ... didn’t include misdemeanor cases, which amount to about 80 percent of all prosecutions, or juvenile cases. And it also excluded the costs of jailing people who were later released without charges, which may amount to $70 million a year, the report said. The study examined only records from California and ... looked at cases in which felony convictions were overturned and the defendants were later cleared. More than half the cases involved prosecutors’ wrongful withholding of evidence. One example was that of former Black Panther Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt. Pratt was convicted in 1972 of murdering schoolteacher Carolyn Olson [in 1968] and was sentenced to life in prison, based in part on [witness] testimony. He was freed in 1999 after a judge found that prosecutors had withheld evidence that the witness was an informant for the FBI, which was then trying to discredit Pratt as part of its Cointelpro campaign. The authors questioned long-standing laws that shield prosecutors from lawsuits by criminal defendants. They said they knew of no other profession that received immunity for “intentional wrongdoing that gravely injures another.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the prison system.


FBI Won’t Explain Its Bizarre New Way of Measuring Its Success Fighting Terror
2016-02-18, The Intercept
Posted: 2016-02-28 20:33:37
https://theintercept.com/2016/02/18/fbi-wont-explain-its-bizarre-new-way-of-m...

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has quietly developed a new way to measure its success in the war on terror: counting the number of terror threats it has “disrupted” in a year. In the section on “Performance Measures” in the FBI’s latest financial statement, the bureau reports 440 “terror disruptions” in the 12-month period ending on September 30, 2015. That’s ... more than three times the 2015 “target” of 125. In a vacuum, that would appear to suggest that the FBI’s terror-fighting mission - which sucked ... 54 percent of the bureau’s $9.8 billion budget in 2015 - is exceeding expectations. But that number - 440 - is much higher than the number of arrests reported by the FBI. The Washington Post counted about 60 terror-related arrests in 2015. Of those arrests, many were of people trying to travel abroad or trying to help others do so. Many more involved people planning attacks that were essentially imaginary, often goaded by FBI informants. There was only one genuinely “foiled attack” in the United States between January 2014 and September 2015. And that one ... was stopped by the local police department. The fact that the agency establishes a target for terrorism disruptions is also troubling, said Michael German, a former FBI agent.

Note: The FBI has made a habit of manufacturing "terrorist plots" from thin air. Now it appears that activities reminiscent of COINTELPRO are again being carried out to justify massive anti-terrorism spending. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing terrorism news articles from reliable major media sources.


Israel boycott ban: Shunning Israeli goods to become criminal offence for public bodies and student unions
2016-02-14, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2016-02-28 20:30:19
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/israel-boycott-local-councils-...

Local councils, public bodies and even some university student unions are to be banned by law from boycotting “unethical” companies. All publicly funded institutions will lose the freedom to refuse to buy goods and services from companies involved in the arms trade, fossil fuels, tobacco products or Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Any public bodies that continue to pursue boycotts will face “severe penalties”, ministers said. Underlining the main target of the ban, the formal announcement will be made by the Cabinet Office minister Matt Hancock when he visits Israel this week. Israeli companies, along with other firms which have investments in the occupied West Bank, have been among those targeted by unofficial boycotts in the past. In 2014 Leicester City Council passed a policy to boycott goods produced in Israeli settlements in the West Bank while the Scottish Government published a procurement notice to Scottish councils which “strongly discourages trade and investment from illegal settlements”. Mr. Hancock said the current position where local authorities had autonomy to make ethical purchasing decisions was “undermining” Britain’s national security.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.