Lawsuit reveals Obama's DoJ sabotaged Freedom of Information Act transparency

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The Obama administration declared itself to be the "most transparent administration in history," but a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act reveals that Obama's Justice Department worked tirelessly behind the scenes to kill any chance of increased Freedom of Information Act access to governments at all levels, from lobbying Congress to kill FOIA reform to urging other administrative agencies to obstruct FOIA requests. Read the rest

DoD wants $660M to respond to Freedom of Information request on "Hotplugs"

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The Department of Defense sent Muckrock a demand for $660 million as a requirement for fulfilling a Freedom of Information Act request for records about the Hotplug, a gadget that allows you to transport computers without shutting them down -- used by law enforcement to move suspect computers to forensic facilities without shutting them down and potentially parking drives in an encrypted state. Read the rest

Calculating US police killings using methodologies from war-crimes trials

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Statistician Patrick Ball runs an NGO called the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, which uses extremely rigorous, well-documented statistical techniques to provide evidence of war crimes and genocides; HRDAG's work has been used in the official investigations of atrocities in Kosovo, Guatemala, Peru, Colombia, Syria and elsewhere. Read the rest

New Jersey state lab technician allegedly faked results in a drug case

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Kamalkant Shah, who worked as a technician for the State Police evidence laboratory, was accused of faking drug test results by "dry labbing" - which means just making stuff up. Shah worked on 7,827 criminal cases and the state is now reviewing each one.

Shah was removed from lab work on Dec. 10 as soon as the problem was discovered, said Peter Aseltine, spokesman for the Office of the Attorney General. Shah, who received a salary of $101,039, was suspended without pay effective Jan 12, he said.

Shah has not been charged with any crime, and is believed to have retired, Aseltine said.

Lab tech allegedly faked result in drug case; 7,827 criminal cases now in question Read the rest

FBI claims it has no records of its decision to delete its recommendation to encrypt your phone

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Two years ago, the FBI published its official advice to "protect your mobile device," including a recommendation to encrypt your storage. This year, the FBI is suing Apple to force it to break its encryption. Read the rest

Nissan yanks remote-access Leaf app -- 4+ weeks after researchers report critical flaw

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The remote access Leaf app has been recalled by Nissan, more than a month after researchers went to the company to report that they could remotely drain the battery and download the log of all the car's movements. Read the rest

Crowdfunding to send Australian sex-abuse survivors to Rome for testimony of notorious cardinal

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Cardinal George Pell presided over decades of horrific abuse of Australian children by his clergy; now the active, vigorous crime-boss says he's too weak to return to Australia from the Vatican to attend a commission on the crimes, meaning that he won't have to confront the survivors of the abuse he abetted. Read the rest

Think you're entitled to compensation after being wrongfully imprisoned in California? Nope.

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People who spent years, even decades, behind bars in California's prisons before being exonerated are not entitled to any services or compensation, not even the normal reintegration counselling, funding and services made available to parolees and criminals who've served their time. Read the rest

New Zealand's Prime Minister: I'll stay in TPP's economic suicide-pact even if the USA pulls out

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The secretly negotiated Trans Pacific Partnership will cost New Zealand a fortune -- the extension of its copyright from 50 to 70 years alone will suck NZD55,000,000/year out of its economy -- but it's supposed to get the benefit of increased trade with the major powers in the treaty, especially Japan and the USA. Read the rest

Disney offers to deduct contributions to its PAC from employees' paychecks, to lobby for TPP

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In a mass mailing to employees, CEO Bob Iger asked Disney people to make a regular contribution to Disney PAC to help the company lobby for expanded copyright laws, and the Trans Pacific Partnership. Read the rest

The best piece about Donald Trump published this election cycle

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Matt Taibbi is one of our decade's best observers of corruption and abuses of power, combining careful research with flamboyant, HS Thompson-esque verbal pyrotechnics, an absolute gift for coinages (Goldman Sachs will never fully shed his description of the firm as "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money"), matched by real insight into the American political psyche. Read the rest

After appointed city manager illegally jacked up prices, Flint paid the highest water rates in America

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The tainted water that poisoned an entire generation of children in Flint, MI, was the most expensive water in America. Read the rest

Wikileaks: NSA spied on UN Secretary General and world leaders over climate and trade

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In less than an hour, Wikileaks will publish a set of TOP-SECRET/COMINT-GAMMA documents -- "the most highly classified documents ever published by a media organization" -- that document NSA spying on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, former French leader Nicolas Sarkozy, and key Japanese and EU trade reps in an attempt to gain an advantage in negotiations regarding climate change and global trade. Read the rest

Plummeting oil prices and 13 years of official looting leave Iraq on the brink

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For 13 years, Iraq's post-Saddam elites have run amok, looting the country's riches while creating a pervasive culture of corruption that spreads all the way down -- only the continuous injection of new money from the country's oil-fields kept the whole thing from collapsing. Read the rest

Forced arbitration clauses are a form of wealth transfer to the rich

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A federal judge called America's move to forced arbitration and bans on class-action suits -- bans favored and enabled by Scalia -- "among the most profound shifts in our legal history." Read the rest

Infographic: what's the TPP, what's wrong with it, how'd we get here, and what do we do now?

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Burning questions that you're desperate for answers to, and their answers, courtesy of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Read the rest

"Citizens" who speak at town meetings are hired, scripted actors

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Last December, the town council in Camarillo, a small town in southern California, a man called Prince Jordan Tyson stood up and delivered a three minute speech as a "concerned citizen" about a planned construction project before the council. Read the rest

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