Man gasps dying words into officer's bodycam: "They're killing me right now... I can't breathe."

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In 2013, Ana Biocini called the Oakland police because she'd heard a noise and thought there might be an intruder in the house. When the police arrived, they handcuffed her brother, Hernan Jaramillo, "without any lawful reason or justification," dragged him 20 feet down the sidewalk, threw him facedown into the ground, and three officers knelt on him while he begged for breath. The 51 year old man died at the scene.

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Negative Publicity: a book of paraphernalia from state kidnappings

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Crofton Black is a British counterterrorism investigator who has spent years tracking down the detritus of extraordinary rendition -- a polite euphemism for the government practice of snatching people, flying them to a distant country, and torturing them. Read the rest

Chelsea Manning interview: DNA, big data, official secrecy, and citizenship

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Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg creates portraits from DNA samples, usually working from found samples -- chewing gum, cigarette butts -- of people she's never met. But this year, she's done a pair of extraordinary portraits of Chelsea Manning, the whistleblower currently serving a 35-year sentence in Fort Leavenworth for her role in the Wikileaks Cablegate publications.

The Police Use of Force project: a scorecard for America's police-department policies

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A group of activists, data scientists and policy analysts have conducted a survey of the use of force policies in place in America's cities, ranking them by whether they meet four common-sense criteria: whether the priority of force is "preserving life"; whether officers are required to de-escalate situations; whether officers are allowed to choke civilians; and whether officers are required to intervene to prevent their colleagues from using excessive force. Read the rest

That time the DoD paid Duke U $335K to investigate ESP in dogs. Yes, dogs.

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Michael from Muckrock writes, "Government research often pushes the boundaries between science and science fiction. Today, the proud bearer of that mantle is often DARPA, experimenting with robots, cybernetics, and more. But in the sixties, during the height of the Cold War, this research often went into more fantastical realms, even exploring whether ExtraSensory Perception (ESP) was possible. Thanks to FOIA, MuckRock looks back on the paranormal history of American surveillance." Read the rest

Worried about Chinese spies, the FBI freaked out about Epcot Center

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Muckrock has secured the FBI's files on Epcot Center, revealing the panicked thrash that the prospect of a semi-circle of international pavilions around a toy artificial lake set off in Cold War atmosphere of 1981. Read the rest

How an obsessive jailhouse lawyer revealed the existence of Stingray surveillance devices

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Daniel Rigmaiden was a prolific and talented fraudster who made more than a million dollars filing tax-returns for dead people, using ninja forgery skills and super-tight operational security to avoid arrest for years. Read the rest

US Treasury Dept wants to know which offshore crimelords are buying all those NYC and Miami penthouses

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It's an open secret that the world's luxury property boom is being driven by crooked rich people in the former Soviet Union, Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa who have looted their homelands and want to stash the money out of reach of any new dictators who might come along and change which oligarchs are favored and which are not. Read the rest

NSA says it will take four years to answer questions about its kids' coloring book

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The NSA's Crypto Cat and her friends are a set of trademark-registered kids' characters who have appeared for more than a decade in promotional materials like coloring books that the NSA uses it to encourage kids to grow up to be spies. Read the rest

Juniper blinks: firewall will nuke the NSA's favorite random number generator

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In the month since network security giant Juniper Networks was forced to admit that its products had NSA-linked backdoors, the company's tried a lot of different strategies: minimizing assurances, apologies, firmware updates -- everything, that is, except for removing th Dual_EC random number generator that is widely understood to have been compromised by the NSA. Read the rest

Now that they know the NSA is spying on them, Congress is really worried about domestic surveillance

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It's not just Rep Pete Hoekstra [R-MI] who switched sides in the surveillance debate when he discovered that his beloved NSA had been spying on him -- a whole raft of Congressional NSA cheerleaders have followed the path that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the entire UK Parliament blazed when they learned that, as far as spies were concerned, no one was exempt. Read the rest

UK government spent a fortune fighting to keep the number 13 a secret

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The BBC's Social Affairs Correspondent, Michael Buchanan, wanted to know how often the UK government's new "red tape-busting cabinet panel, the Reducing Regulation Committee" was meeting, because he thought that it was probably "all froth and no action." Read the rest

New Zealand rules police raid on journalist Nicky Hager was illegal

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In a huge victory for press freedom, New Zealand’s High Court has ruled decisively in favor of independent journalist Nicky Hager in his case against the New Zealand government for raiding his house and seizing his family’s possessions in 2014.

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Tax havens hold $7.6 trillion; 8% of world's total wealth

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Cass Sunstein reviews The Hidden Wealth of Nations, a new book by UC Berkeley's Gabriel Zucman; and a new documentary, The Price We Pay, both of which map out the scale of international tax-havens, which are used by criminals and corrupt one percenters to hide money from their governments; and by corrupt governments to hide money from their citizens -- the havens are a critical part of the secret, parallel US tax system that lets the rich pay less of their income in tax than the poor. Read the rest

Recreating the CIA's "top secret" abstract painting collection

Artist Johanna Barron shows portions of her 2015 work of the Melzac Collection held by the CIA

In the 1980s, "controversial Republican art collector" Vincent Melzac donated 29 abstract paintings from the Washington Color School to the CIA, which now hang on the Agency's walls, but when asked for details about them, the CIA goes mum, claiming that the paintings are top secret. Read the rest

DoJ forced Google to turn over Jacob Appelbaum's email, then gagged Google

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Google's lawyers fought strenuously against the DoJ's demands for access to the Gmail account of Jacob Appelbaum, a journalist, activist and volunteer with the Wikileaks project; they fought even harder against the accompanying gag order, arguing that Appelbaum had the right to know what was going on and have a lawyer argue his case. Read the rest

UK police rely heavily on cyberweapons but won't answer any questions about them

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The UK police and security services have frequently touted the necessity of "equipment interference" techniques -- cyberweapons used to infect suspects' computers -- in their investigations, but they have refused to release any information about their use in response to 40 Freedom of Information requests from Motherboard. Read the rest

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