Elite "wealth managers": Renfields to the one percent bloodsuckers


Lorq writes, "This brilliant piece of investigative research shines a light on one of the mechanisms of wealth inequality -- the secretive field of wealth management for the one percent. It's one thing to hand-wave vaguely about wealth disparity; it's quite another to become a certified expert in its procedures and institutions and then report back to the rest of us -- which is what Brooke Harrington does here. An audacious study of the enablers of the rich." Read the rest

BBC helps Saudis whitewash arms trade to Syrian jihadis


The BBC quoted an anonymous Saudi source who insisted that the arms the country imports en masse from the UK are only funnelled to the good Syrian rebels and not the Al Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front. Read the rest

Petition: Facebook betrayed us by secretly lobbying for cyber-surveillance bill


Tiffiny from Fight for the Future writes, "New information has surfaced about Facebook's position on S. 754, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA). Sources on the Hill tell us that Facebook lobbyists are welcoming CISA behind closed doors, even though Facebook has been lauded as opposing the bill after CCIA, an industry association they are a member of, came out against it.. CISA would give companies like Facebook legal immunity for violating privacy laws as long as they share information with the government. It's supposed to be for cybersecurity, but in reality companies would be encouraged to share information beyond cyber threat data and the information could be used for prosecuting all kinds of activities." Read the rest

FCC trying to stop phone companies that rip off prisoners' families


The private phone companies that charge prisoners' families up to up to $12.95 for 15 minutes' conversation are not the worst prison profiteers, but they're pretty high up in the rogues' gallery of greedy, immoral predators who view the poorest and most vulnerable Americans as penned-up wallets. Read the rest

Arizona tried to illegally import an execution drug not approved for use in U.S.

Outside Phoenix's "Tent City" jail REUTERS//Joshua Lott

Arizona tried to illegally import a lethal injection drug that is banned in the U.S., but the state never got the drug after federal agents halted the shipment at Phoenix airport. The Associated Press has the documents, and the resulting scoop.

Arizona paid nearly $27,000 for sodium thiopental, an anesthetic that has been used to carry out executions but is no longer manufactured by FDA-approved companies, the documents said. When the drugs arrived via British Airways at the Phoenix International Airport in July, they were seized by federal officials and have not been released, according to the documents.

"The department is contesting FDA's legal authority to continue to withhold the state's execution chemicals," state Department of Corrections spokesman Andrew Wilder said Thursday.

Arizona and other death penalty states have been struggling to obtain legal execution drugs for several years after European companies refused to sell the drugs, including sodium thiopental, that have been used to carry out executions. States have had to change drug combinations or, in some cases, put executions on hold temporarily as they look for other options.

The Arizona documents obtained by the AP were released as part of a lawsuit against the corrections department over transparency in executions. The AP is a party in the lawsuit.

"Documents: Arizona tried to illegally import execution drug" [AP] Read the rest

Son of Dieselgate: second line of VWs may have used "defeat devices"

Poster - Son of Frankenstein_16

It's not just the 11 million VW diesels that the company admits to having converted to secret mobile gas-chambers; VW is now probing whether earlier models also used the "defeat devices" that detected when they were being evaluated by regulators, lowering emissions temporarily, then ramping them up to forty times the legal limit later. Read the rest

Complexity of financial crimes makes crooks unconvictable


Following a mistrial in the Dewey & LeBoeuf case -- a complex financial fraud involving a tony white-shoe law firm -- Bloomberg tries to analyze what happened to the jury, who were unable to convict despite four months of hearings and 22 days' worth of deliberations. Read the rest

Half of Vanuatu's government is going to jail


On October 9, the Supreme Court of Vanuatu found that fourteen members of the government had accepted bribes from the opposition in exchange for a promise of support in a vote of no confidence. Vanuatu's president, Baldwin Lonsdale, was out of the country at the time, leaving speaker Marcellino Pipite as head of state in his absence. As Pipite was one of those convicted, he promptly pardoned himself and his co-conspirators and suspended the country's ombudsman. Read the rest

DHS admits it uses Stingrays for VIPs, vows to sometimes get warrants, stop lying to judges


The DHS's newly released policy statement on the use of Stingrays (stationary fake cellphone towers used to track people in a specific location) and Dirt Boxes (airplane-mounted surveillance that tracks whole populations) represents a welcome, if overdue, transparency in the use of cellphone surveillance by federal agencies. Read the rest

Wikileaks hosting files from CIA director John Brennan's AOL account


Wikileaks has posted a collection of documents ganked from CIA director John Brennan's email account, which was reportedly hacked by a "teen stoner" earlier this week. Read the rest



Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "The privacy-killing law CISA -- which gives legal immunity to corporations when they share your private data with the U.S. government -- is back on the Senate floor after Internet activists have successfully delayed it many times. This could be our last chance to stop it for good." Read the rest

How enforcing a crappy patent bankrupted the Eskimo Pie company


Russell Stover's innovative Eskimo Pie treats were the smash-hit of 1920, and represented the culmination of long and careful experimentation with different techniques for adding a chocolate coating to ice-cream. Read the rest

How a lobbyist/doctor couple are destroying Worker's Comp across America


If you live in a state where Bill Minick and his company Partnersource has done its dirty work, your employer can opt out of Worker's Compensation plan and replace it with one designed by Minick -- he also writes state laws defining the terms for private replacements to Worker's Comp -- and backstopped by his wife Dr. Melissa Ton's medical practice, who gets to decide whether you deserve treatment. If she denies your claims, Minick's company makes more money. Read the rest

Five private prison myths that Muckrock will bust with its crowdfunded Freedom of Information Act blitz


Michael from Muckrock writes, "MuckRock's crowdfunding campaign to fund a series of FOIA requests and an investigation into America's Private Prison industry is in its last weeks, and the project's reporter, Beryl Lipton, has put together a list factchecking the industry's primary talking points, ranging from how they end up costing tax payers more than traditional prisons to how the industry actively works to build up the market by lobbying against policies that would reduce sentences -- and their margins." Read the rest

In upsidedownland, Verizon upheld its fiber broadband promises to 14 cities


Verizon got broadband franchise agreements in cities across the USA in exchange for promises to get fiber into residential homes and businesses, arguing that without the exclusive right to wire up cities without competition, it would be unable to justify the investment in new infrastructure. Read the rest

Survivor-count for the Chicago PD's black-site/torture camp climbs to 7,000+


In February, the Guardian reported stories about the Homan Square, the Chicago Police Department's off-the-books black-site, where (mostly black and brown) suspects are denied counsel while being brutalized into forced confessions. Read the rest

NYPD won't disclose what it does with its secret military-grade X-ray vans


The $825,000 Z Backscatter Vans the NYPD drives around the city look like regular police vans, but are equipped with powerful X-rays that can see through walls and vehicles. US Customs uses these things to scan cars and freight-containers, but only after they're sure there are no people around. Read the rest

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