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Member since: Fri Sep 8, 2006, 11:47 AM
Number of posts: 12,708

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The best cosplay outfit seen yet this year: Immortan Trump

Via BoingBoing:

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Tue Sep 8, 2015, 09:41 PM (5 replies)

Legal challenge alleges authorities withheld police use of stingray surveillance


A Baltimore defense attorney has filed the first of what could be hundreds of challenges to cases in which police allegedly withheld that they had used a high-tech phone tracking device to gather evidence.

The attorney, Joshua Insley, had questioned last fall whether the surveillance equipment known as a stingray was used in the case against his client, Shemar Taylor, who was accused of stealing a cellphone.

Prosecutors and police at the time denied that investigators had used a stingray, but on the witness stand a detective refused to answer questions about what technology they did use. The judge threatened to hold the detective in contempt when he cited a confidentiality agreement with the federal government and refused to answer the judge's questions.

Since then, there have been a number of disclosures about how police use the technology. Insley pointed to the release of a police log of cases in which a stingray was used, which he says proves one was used in Taylor's case.

A good introduction for those unfamiliar with 'stingrays', and how police have been
secretly using them:

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Fri Sep 4, 2015, 09:53 PM (0 replies)

Sex, drugs, and racist policing in Rutland, Vermont


Sex, drugs, and racist policing in Rutland, Vt.

By Farah Stockman Globe Staff August 26, 2015

...Thanks to a lawsuit filed in Rutland, Vt., the world is about to get a rare, behind-the-dashcam look at police culture in a rural Vermont town. It ain’t pretty.

To be sure, police in Rutland have a tough job. The once-idyllic town has battled the scourge of heroin for years. New York City drug dealers flock there to sell their wares at a higher profit.

But there’s a right way and a wrong way to tackle this problem. Rutland chose the wrong way: Two white police officers — Sergeant John Johnson and Officer Earl Post — began strip-searching black men coming off the Amtrak train.

They manufactured probable cause, claiming they’d gotten a tip from a “confidential informant,” according to the lawsuit, filed by Andy Todd, who served for years as the only black officer on Rutland’s force.

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sun Aug 30, 2015, 01:32 PM (4 replies)

Before I logged on, I just *knew* someone would use the VA tragedy to tout a moral panic-and...

...my expectations were, of course, met:

(x-posted from the other forum)


I would like to take today as a chance...

...to express my continued commitment to using my voice and all political and rhetorical means necessary to slow and stop this nation's obsession with guns and the violence they perpetuate. It has no place in our democracy and it has no place on DU.
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Thu Aug 27, 2015, 01:24 AM (13 replies)

The Google Search That Made the CIA Spy on the US Senate


The Google Search That Made the CIA Spy on the US Senate
By Jason Leopold
August 12, 2015 | 12:15 pm

John Brennan was about to say he was sorry.

On July 28, 2014, the CIA director wrote a letter to senators Dianne Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss — the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee (SSCI) and the panel's ranking Republican, respectively. In it, he admitted that the CIA's penetration of the computer network used by committee staffers reviewing the agency's torture program — a breach for which Feinstein and Chambliss had long demanded accountability — was improper and violated agreements the Intelligence Committee had made with the CIA.

The letter was notable in part because Brennan initially denied the January 2014 search of the Senate's computer network even took place. And later, when it became clear that it had — and that he had known of it while publicly denying that it happened — he refused to acknowledge that it was wrong. For months, Feinstein and other committee members were clamoring for a written apology to make part of the official record.

Brennan's mea culpa was prompted by a memo he'd received 10 days earlier from CIA Inspector General David Buckley. After the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) was tasked with looking into the intrusion, it found that the CIA employees who broke into the Senate's computer network in hopes of tracking down CIA documents the Senate wasn't allowed to see (according to the agency) may have broken federal laws.

"I recently received a briefing on the findings, and want to inform you that the investigation found support for your concern that CIA staff had improperly accessed the shared drive on the RDINet when conducting a limited search for CIA privileged documents," Brennan wrote. "In particular, the judged that Agency officers' access to the… shared drive was inconsistent with the common understanding reached in 2009 between the Committee and the Agency regarding access to RDINet. Consequently, I apologize for the actions of CIA officers…. I am committed to correcting the shortcomings that this report has revealed."...



Very long, but well worth reading. Turns out, the Panetta Report leaking
was due to the CIA's IT contractor fucking up, not the Senate staffers hacking into
the CIA's database. Also, the CIA asked Vice not to release the letter that the CIA
had given them ('by mistake', is the claim) but Vice said no, and so you see it
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Aug 12, 2015, 10:37 PM (3 replies)

Track construction begins on New Haven-Springfield rail line


HARTFORD, Conn. —Construction of a second track for the expanded rail line from New Haven to Springfield, Massachusetts, began Monday, and commuters will be bused along the route for the next year.

The project will boost north-south rail transportation from six daily round-trip trains to 17 a day south of Hartford and 12 north of Hartford. About $435 million is available, said John Bernick, assistant rail administrator at the Connecticut Department of Transportation. Of that amount, $191 million is from Washington, D.C., and the remainder is state funding, he said.

The increased number of trains is intended not only to boost economic development in central Connecticut. It's also part of a broader web of rail line expansions between Springfield and Boston and north to Vermont and Montreal

"It puts Hartford right in the middle of this great rail infrastructure," Bernick said. "It's huge. When you discuss it with businesses, their eyes really light up. It all starts right now with this critical track bed."
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Aug 5, 2015, 11:07 AM (0 replies)

What does Boston's failed Olympic bid have to do with primaries? This:

Read this in The Nation, and one part popped out at me


Why Boston Was Compelled to Pull Its 2024 Olympic Bid

...There were two coalitions working against the Olympic bid: No Boston 2024 and No Boston Olympics. They were different people with different tactics, but they shared both goals and a willingness to operate in concert with one another...

...Another No Boston 2024 activist, Jonathan Cohn, said to me that the bid was undermined by the committee’s “complete lack of understanding of the media landscape in the 21st century.”

“They seemed to believe that if they could win over the Boston Globe editorial board, they would be able to shape the public discourse,” he said. “That may have been the case in 1995 but not in 2015. Social media offered activists a way of not only connecting with each other but also easily and quickly debunking Boston 2024’s lies spoken at City Council hearings, press conferences, dog-and-pony show community meetings, etc. You didn’t have to read the story about what happened the next day; you could engage with it as it happens.”

I also reached out to Chris Dempsey of the No Boston Olympics coalition. He said, “We were outspent more than 1,000 to 1, but fortunately the people of Massachusetts know how to weigh pros and cons, not just listen to the people with the bigger megaphone...
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Fri Jul 31, 2015, 01:00 PM (1 replies)

Seems some of that lot really *do* want an actual "War on Guns":


Most Americans don't have or want guns. We need a War on Guns. nt


mwrguy (2,033 posts)

Response to valerief (Reply #4)

Wed Jul 29, 2015, 12:43 PM
7. total war
until they are gone.

Which brings up several questions:

*Will they, or their family members, be doing any of the fighting in their 'war'?

*Will they be armed while doing so?

*In regard to the second statement- Are you also planning a simultaneous War on Metallurgy?

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Jul 29, 2015, 12:08 PM (8 replies)

Laura Poitras Sues US Government To Find Out Why She Was Detained Every Time She Flew


These days, Laura Poitras is known as the Oscar-winning director of the Ed Snowden documentary CITIZENFOUR, and with it, one of the reporters who helped break Snowden's story in the first place. Pre-Snowden, she was a not-as-widely-known-but-still-celebrated documentary filmmaker, who also got some attention after her future colleague Glenn Greenwald wrote an article about how she was detained at the border every time she flew into the country (which was frequently, as she had made a documentary, My Country, My Country, concerning the Iraq War, along with The Oath, which reported on two Yemenis who had worked with Osama bin Laden)...

...It wasn't only at the border that she was subject to such searches. Often, even when flying domestically within the US, she was called out for further scrutiny and searches.

After Greenwald's article, a bunch of documentary filmmakers signed a petition protesting the treatment of Poitras, and between the press coverage and the petition, the harassment of Poitras suddenly stopped.

After this, she filed some FOIA requests to find out why she had been supposedly given a high threat rating in the DHS database, causing such detentions. Not surprisingly, the government refused to reveal any such information. And that brings us to the latest, where Poitras, with help from the EFF, has now sued the US government (specifically the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice) to get them to reveal why she was considered a threat.

Link to the EFF's take on this:


Oscar and Pulitzer Award-Winning Journalist Laura Poitras Sues U.S. Government To Uncover Records After Years of Airport Detentions and Searches

Washington, D.C. ­– Academy and Pulitzer Prize Award-winning documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras sued the Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. transportation security agencies today demanding they release records documenting a six-year period in which she was searched, questioned, and often subjected to hours-long security screenings at U.S. and overseas airports on more than 50 occasions. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is representing Poitras in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, DOJ, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

“I’m filing this lawsuit because the government uses the U.S. border to bypass the rule of law,” said Poitras. “This simply should not be tolerated in a democracy. I am also filing this suit in support of the countless other less high-profile people who have also been subjected to years of Kafkaesque harassment at the borders. We have a right to know how this system works and why we are targeted.”

Poitras is a professional journalist who won an Academy Award this year for her documentary film “CITIZENFOUR” about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, shared in the 2014 Pulitzer for Public Service for NSA reporting, and is a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant. During frequent travel from 2006 to 2012 for work on her documentary films, Poitras was detained at the U.S. border every time she entered the country.

During these detentions, she was told by airport security agents that she had a criminal record (even though she does not), that her name appeared on a national security threat database, and, on one occasion, that she was on the U.S. government’s No Fly List. She’s had her laptop, camera, mobile phone, and reporter notebooks seized and their contents copied, and was once threatened with handcuffing for taking notes during her detention after border agents said her pen could be used as a weapon. The searches were conducted without a warrant and often without explanation, and no charges have ever been brought against Poitras....

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Jul 15, 2015, 09:44 PM (0 replies)

Adventures in racism at the supermarket checkout


To excerpt:

Writer of piece is at supermarket checkout. In front of her are three AA women
First one attempts to use her EBT card-rejected for "incorrect PIN"

Other two attempt same, with same results, machine rejects all three PINs.

Shoppers say "We entered correct PINs" Cashier says:
"No, NSF or you all used wrong PINs" Bystanders pass hat, pay for groceries. Then:

I'm not telling you this story to give a warm fuzzy about the good Samaritans of Giant Eagle. I am telling it because of what happened next, after my stuff was checked out.

“I hate to say it,” the cashier said, which means she didn't hate to say it at all, “but people like that just don't keep track of their money. They think they have all of it on their cards, but they just don't budget well.”

As I went to pay, I took out my debit card and entered my PIN.


“My card was declined. It says I'm not using the right PIN.”

She looked at me blankly for a moment. Then she said this:

Need I add that the writer is white?

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Thu Jul 2, 2015, 09:41 PM (23 replies)
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