Despite crime being on a steady decline for the past decade and the threat of international terrorism being wildly overstated, local police departments are stockpiling military grade weaponry. The militarization of police forces has become such a prominent phenomenon that the ACLU now dedicates a portion of its resources to studying the trend. Community policing – particularly in poor areas where people of color live – has been replaced with military style raids by heavily armed SWAT Teams.
|By: DSWright Tuesday August 5, 2014 12:10 pm|
|By: Kevin Gosztola Monday January 13, 2014 3:50 pm|
A former Church Committee investigator, former Army intelligence officer and a professor of constitutional law has agreed to be an expert witness in a lawsuit challenging domestic military spying against antiwar activists.
|By: David Dayen Thursday October 25, 2012 6:58 am|
|By: Kevin Gosztola Thursday October 18, 2012 8:15 am|
Documents and surveillance video obtained by the Massachusetts chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) show the Boston Police Department (BPD) and the city’s Homeland Security fusion center, the Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC), have been spying on peace groups and local leaders. The documents show law enforcement has monitored demonstrations, tracked beliefs and “internal dynamics” of activist groups and labeled this information in ways that would make it seem like they were tracking criminal activity.
|By: Kit OConnell Wednesday October 17, 2012 2:49 pm|
The Texas fusion center enabled Austin Police to entrap activists in Houston, but apparently it can’t help settle a dispute when that entrapment comes to light. The Austin Chronicle reports that the Austin Police Department would rather drop the charges against the Gulf Port 7 than reveal their undercover officers.
Also a Tar Sands Blockade Update.
|By: Kevin Gosztola Wednesday October 10, 2012 12:58 pm|
A report from the Congressional Research Service was recently released and it looked at how law enforcement had been cracking down on animal rights and environmental activists. It highlighted how the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act is used against activists.
|By: Kevin Gosztola Friday October 5, 2012 3:30 pm|
A scathing report released days ago by a Senate subcommittee concluded Department of Homeland Security fusion centers at the state and local level had not “produced useful intelligence to support federal counterterrorism efforts.” It also found “DHS-assigned detailees” have “forwarded ‘intelligence’ of uneven quality—oftentimes shoddy, rarely timely, sometimes endangering citizens’ civil liberties and Privacy Act protections.”
The findings have garnered some necessary attention by showing, as Julian Sanchez wrote, that the United States’ “broken panopticon” is “expensive and useless.” The fusion centers were foisted upon Americans as a necessity to keep the country secure. The violations of privacy, however, have not benefited the safety of Americans.
|By: David Dayen Wednesday October 3, 2012 3:18 pm|
A disturbing new Senate report highlights anti-terrorism “fusion centers,” which were designed to allow state, local and federal investigators to share information about terrorism. Instead, says the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, the centers have produced useless intelligence information and proven a waste of money. “The subcommittee investigation could identify no reporting which uncovered a terrorist threat, nor could it identify a contribution such fusion center reporting made to disrupt an active terrorist plot,” the report alleged. What’s more, the fusion center reports often targeted innocent US citizens as terrorist suspects, improperly collecting their personal communications.
|By: emptywheel Sunday March 27, 2011 6:45 am|
The New York Times liberated the specific answer to a question that Russ Feingold asked in March 2009, but which the Department of Justice didn’t respond to until November 2010, when Feingold was a lame duck Senator. At issue were new investigative guidelines Attorney General Michael Mukasey issued in late 2008, on his way out the door, which allowed the FBI to investigate Americans for First Amendment reasons so long as that First Amendment reason was not the only reason they were being investigated.