The Intercept begins publishing Snowden docs

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The Intercept has begun publishing a large tranche of NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden. All 166 articles from SID Today, an NSA internal newsletter, are coming in the first portion of Snowden docs that The Intercept will release, with more to come. Read the rest

FBI Director: viral videos make cops afraid to do their jobs

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FBI Director James Comey told reporters that "viral video effect" (which is his latest term for what used to be called the "Ferguson effect") is responsible for increased violent crime in some US cities, in that police are scared to do their jobs because they might end up on Youtube in an unflattering video. Read the rest

300 prominent economists call on world governments to end tax haven secrecy

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Oxfam has published an open letter signed by hundreds of respected economists, including Thomas Piketty, which describes tax havens as "serving no useful economic purpose." Read the rest

America's courts are going dark

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US Federal Magistrate judge Stephen William Smith sounds the alarm about the skyrocketing trend of US courts operating in secret, with their findings (or even the fact that they're hearing a case at all) sealed to scrutiny, and an ever-increasing portion of judicial action taking place in off-record arbitration. Read the rest

Panama Papers: New Zealand is the go-to money launderer for crooked Latin Americans

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A joint report by RNZ, TVNZ and Nicky Hager accuses New Zealand of being at the heart of a gigantic money-laundering operation for the corrupt elites of Latin America. Read the rest

Safe Patient Project: searchable spreadsheet tells Californians whether their doc is on probation, and why

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State medical boards are hybrids: part independent regulator, part industry association. They are in charge of handing down professional probations against doctors who do wrong, but the details of which doctors are on probation, and why, are kept from patients. Read the rest

Panama Papers whistleblower issues statement, naming and shaming failed states and institutions

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"John Doe," the mysterious whistleblower who released the largest-ever leak of confidential documents in world history -- papers from the Panamanian law firm Mossack-Fonseca, a key player in the offshore dark money industry -- has published their first-ever public statement. Read the rest

MEP tours the farcical viewing conditions for the TTIP text

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On Monday, Greenpeace leaked the highly confidential negotiating drafts of the TTIP, a top-secret, big-business-friendly trade agreement between the USA and the EU. Read the rest

Greenpeace dumps TTIP documents that show USA arm-twisting the EU

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Greenpeace has handed newspapers 240 pages of current negotiating documents from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a secretly conducted trade deal between the USA and the EU, which has run in parallel with the notorious Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Read the rest

America's surveillance court rubber-stamped every single surveillance warrant in 2015

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The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) is a secret court that hears warrant requests from America's spy agencies when they want to wiretap people in the USA. Read the rest

Chinese opsec funnies: your foreign boyfriend is a western spy!

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In this Chinese government comic book, women are warned that mysterious foreign strangers who pitch woo at them are secretly Western spies trying to get at their government secrets. Read the rest

UK Chancellor exempts families of "Politically Exposed Persons" from money laundering scrutiny

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George Osborne, the Tory chancellor of David Cameron's UK government, has amended the Bank of England and Financial Services Bill to exempt the families of "Politically Exposed Persons" -- Members of Parliament and other elites -- from money laundering investigations. Read the rest

Podcast explains the corrosive effects of tax havens

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Nicholas Shaxon, author of Treasure Islands: Uncovering the Damage of Offshore Banking and Tax Havens (previously) appeared on The Foreign Desk podcast (MP3) this week to discuss the nature of tax havens, how they hollow out both their host countries and the countries whence their hidden riches comes. Read the rest

Chicago Police Accountability Task Force Report: racism, corruption, and a "broken system"

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Chicago's Police Department are notorious: the force maintains a "black site" where prisoners are secretly held under fake names and tortured, uses political shenanigans to suppress information about corruption, sabotages their own dashcams, secretly operates illegal mass-surveillance equipment (bought with asset forfeiture money, natch), forces out internal investigators who do their jobs conscientiously, and don't get me started on the evils of the Illinois prison system! Read the rest

Microsoft sues US government for the right to tell you when the feds are reading your email

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“We appreciate that there are times when secrecy around a government warrant is needed,” Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote in a blog post Thursday. “But based on the many secrecy orders we have received, we question whether these orders are grounded in specific facts that truly demand secrecy. To the contrary, it appears that the issuance of secrecy orders has become too routine.”

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Obama: 'Top Secret' could mean info that would endanger America, or random stuff you can Google

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“There’s classified, and then there’s classified,” President Barack Obama recently told Fox News anchor Chris Wallace in response to a question about the now-classified material on Hillary Clinton’s private email server from when she was Secretary of State.

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Panama Papers: Mossack Fonseca law offices raided by Panama authorities

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Officers acting on behalf of the attorney general of Panama raided Mossack Fonseca's office on Tuesday. Ramon Fonseca, the company's co-founder, insists that the firm had "broken no laws, destroyed no documents, and all its operations were legal." Read the rest

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