Tag Archives | Crime

NSA’s Big Defenders Cash Big NSA Checks

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

via Lee Fang at The Intercept:

The debate over the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records has reached a critical point after a federal appeals court last week ruled the practice illegal, dramatically raising the stakes for pending Congressional legislation that would fully or partially reinstate the program. An army of pundits promptly took to television screens, with many of them brushing off concerns about the surveillance.

The talking heads have been backstopping the NSA’s mass surveillance more or less continuously since it was revealed. They spoke out to support the agency when NSA contractor Edward Snowden released details of its programs in 2013, and they’ve kept up their advocacy ever since — on television news shows, newspaper op-ed pages, online and at Congressional hearings. But it’s often unclear just how financially cozy these pundits are with the surveillance state they defend, since they’re typically identified with titles that give no clues about their conflicts of interest.

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Freddie Gray Had Pre-Existing Conditions, Just Not Ones You’ve Heard


Via People’s Pundit Daily:

Reports have been circulating on the Internet suggesting Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old man who died last week from a spinal cord injury suffered either before or while in police custody, had a pre-existing injury. The initial report from the New Republic — which PPD found serious discrepancies with — cites Howard County court records as proof that a pre-existing injury “may have possibly” led to his death in April 19.

The Baltimore Sun first pushed back on the report citing court records examined Wednesday, showing the case had nothing to do with a car accident or a spine injury.

“Instead, they are connected to a lawsuit alleging that Gray and his sister were injured by exposure lead paint,” The BS report said (yes, pun intended).

However, according to a PPD investigation into the claims made in both reports, there are a number of relevant questions still unanswered.

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Nam’s Mission



I awake groggy from the weekend. And I want to call in sick. (ZzZzzzzzZZzzz.)

Ugh! I should work! (ZzzZZZzzz.)

Besides, the road might be a good distraction from my mental state. (ZZzzZZzzz.)

Okay! Okay! I’ll get up!

It’s a (now) rare foggy day in ‘ol San Francisco. I’m slogging up through the Citizen’s Cab lot and headed towards the office.

As I near, Sammy – the new office guy who’s taken over Kojak’s morning shift, passes me. He’s leaving the office with some new West African driver. They’re heading out to the lot … with a jump starter.

Note: Kojak has been moved to the afternoon office shift for some unknown reason. (Unknown to me, anyway.) This is how the cab biz works. Drivers, office workers; one day ya see ‘em. And the next, they’re gone.

Anyway, hmm.

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Al-Namrood album artwork

Way More Metal Than You Are.

Do you know what’s totally metal? Being in a Black Metal band, but being unable to perform. Because if you do play a gig, you could wind up with your head chopped off.

That’s what the metal lifestyle is like in Saudia Arabia, as this Vice interview with ‘Mephisto’  from Black Metal band Al-Namrood attests. Read on, headbangers:

Black metal bands have never been keen on religion. However, in parts of the world where religion can actually be oppressive, bands inspired by Bathory and Mayhem and Burzum are few and far between.

That’s presumably because it’s a lot easier to be in an anti-Christian metal band in the US, than in an anti-Islamic metal band in Saudi Arabia. In America, your obstacles extend to overhearing your mom tell a friend you’re just “going through a phase.” In Saudi Arabia, you face social ostracism and the possibility of imprisonment or death.

With that in mind, you’ve got to give it to Saudi Arabia’s only black metal band, Al-Namrood, whose lyrics include all sorts of things that could get them executed.

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Sprawl devours the planet.

A fantastic collection of street art about uncomfortable truths.

Are there any truths that aren’t uncomfortable? Increasingly street art is one of the only ways for people in the overdeveloped world to declare ‘Enough’ and thanks to the internet, we can hear them loud and clear.

From CSGlobe.com:

As the world moves to cities, so does art. And just as art can inspire political action and resistance, so too do the walls of the city become canvases for important street art messages.

And in the dense thicket of apartment buildings, skyscrapers, and public plazas, exterior walls of concrete buildings become the perfect canvas to display such messages. As shown below, simple slogans and provocative images can do a lot to inspire people to action, or at least remind them about the important issues they might be missing.

These people have names and addresses.

Your papers, please.


We're flushing the future down the drain.

Down the drain.

Feed our leafy friends.

If you don’t- who will?

Miserably trapped zoo animals.

Everybody loves the zoo. Mostly.


Sprawl devours the planet.

Shitting little houses made of ticky tacky.

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A Self-Styled Abolitionist’s Orwellian Assault on Sex Workers

r2hox (CC BY 2.0)

r2hox (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Self-styled abolitionist Ryan Dalton’s new tech startup, Rescue Forensics, wants to change the way the police fight human trafficking sex work by dredging up that old spectre The Satanic Panic under a new guise: Human Trafficking Hysteria.

The reality is that Rescue Forensics preys on sex workers — by selling their online activity to Law Enforcement Agencies.

A Vice’s Melissa Gira Grant reports:

Big data” and “sex trafficking.” That it took so long for someone to combine these buzz terms into one money-making venture is just one of several mysteries surrounding Rescue Forensics, a new startup.

The “big” in the Memphis-based company? Rescue Forensics claims it “archives massive quantities of data from classified advertisement sites specializing in commercial sex ads.” It gathers a lot of text, and even more nude and semi-nude photos. Then it turns all that over to the cops.

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CCTV Looking Out For Them Not You

cctv advocates reading list
Essential reading for all CCTV advocates

How did the United Kingdom, a country that supposedly had such high regard for individual freedom, fall under the spell of an all pervasive surveillance state? To understand how the spell was cast and why it was effective, we need to look back to the 1990s when the CCTV camera gold rush began in earnest.

A key catalyst was the manufacture of consent — the government, assisted by its trusted media, went on a charm offensive to create support for CCTV cameras. Despite the fact that the technology was untested and therefore had no evidence in support of their claims, they promoted cameras as a magical solution to fix all of society’s ills.

Central government funding and the creation of the CCTV myth

In the 1990s, the central government invited local councils to bid for funding in a series of “competitions” called “City Challenge”. Shortly after the announcement of one such funding round in 1994, the Home Office published a guidance document entitled ‘CCTV – Looking out for you’ [1].… Read the rest

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DEA Agents Investigating Silk Road Embezzled Bitcoin

Cops pilfering criminals’ loot isn’t exactly new, but perhaps it is when the bounty is Bitcoin. From the Guardian:

“French Maid” wasn’t Carl Force’s officially sanctioned darknet alias.

Bitcoin logo.svg

In his capacity as an undercover Drug Enforcement Agency agent, and a senior member of the team investigating the deep-web drug market Silk Road and its owner, Force used the alias “Nob”.

Ross Ulbricht, the founder of Silk Road known then as “Dread Pirate Roberts”, believed Nob to be a drug smuggler operating in the US with criminal underworld connections.

But Force also created “French Maid” and “Death from Above” – separate aliases not sanctioned by his bosses which he used to extort from Ulbricht hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of bitcoin, according to a complaint filed in a US district court in California.

In 2013, after a two-year investigation, the FBI arrested Ulbricht. In February 2015 he was found guilty on charges of money laundering, conspiracy to traffic drugs and attempted purchase of a murder-for-hire.

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Ring her bell – you’ll unleash hell!


Via KC Star:

Missouri woman pleads guilty to assaulting doorbell pranksters.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Springfield woman could get a 10-year prison sentencing for threatening boys who rang her doorbell and ran away.

Prosecutors say 32-year-old Ashley Crossland pleaded guilty on Feb. 17 to burglary, assault and unlawful use of a weapon after becoming angry because of a January 2014 prank.

A probable cause statement says Crossland tried to run one boy down with her van and punched another three times while holding a knife to his chest.

The Springfield News-Leader reports she was also charged with going to the home where the boys were having a sleepover and illegally entering the home.

One of the boys reportedly told police that Crossland came out of her home and began yelling at them as they ran away after they rang her doorbell. The boy said that after he turned a corner, he saw a van “driving crazy.”

Probable cause documents said the van tried to run the boy over, and backed him up against a fence.

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It’s Poverty, Not the ‘Teenage Brain,’ That Causes the Most Youth Crime

Alan Cleaver (CC BY 2.0)

Alan Cleaver (CC BY 2.0)

Lauren Kirchner writes at The Pacific Standard:

While trading stories about the wide range of things that confused us when we were young children, a friend described how afraid he used to be of teenagers. He wasn’t afraid of any actual young adults in his life, but rather the capital-T teenagers he heard about when his parents watched the local news on TV every evening. It seemed to his nervous ears as though the police were always on the hunt for some devious, dangerous Teenagers who had committed some crime or another in his town.

Compounding his confusion was the vague knowledge that all of the adults in his life were once themselves teenagers. If being a Teenager necessarily meant committing crimes, then what had his parents and grandparents and teachers done in their day, he wondered? And how did they all seem to have gotten away with it?

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