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Incompetent, Brutal DEA Pays $4.1 Million to Daniel Chong For Nearly Murdering Him

Posted on July 31st, 2013 at 23:00 by Paul Jay in category: News


The DEA just settled for $4.1 million dollars in a lawsuit brought by a man the agency nearly killed last year. The plaintiff, 23-year-old engineering student Daniel Chong of the University of California San Diego, was detained in a DEA raid in April 2012 and placed in a windowless cell no bigger than five by 10 feet. Chong spent the next four days there, without food, water, or a toilet, despite having been told by agents that he would not even be charged. To stay alive, he was forced to drink his own urine. When his cell was finally opened four days later, Chong was found unconscious, dehydrated, and with a slit wrist. Chong, his cries for help repeatedly ignored, had given up hope and tried to end his life.  It boggles the mind to think that government agents simply “forgot” about a prisoner who then almost died, but that is apparently what happened.

The DEA says they didn’t have a detainee policy at that time, but now they’ve installed cameras in cells and instituted daily inspections. But you’ve got to wonder why they didn’t have procedures for detainees before. The DEA’s job is to enforce drug laws, and yet apparently it couldn’t competently detain the people who break those laws. It should not have taken the near-death of an innocent person to lead to common-sense procedures on caring for those in custody. And why, according to Chong’s lawyers, hasn’t anyone at the DEA been punished or fired for their role in this debacle, over a year later?

This scandal isn’t an isolated incident either. In fact, the DEA seems to have culture of corruption. Though now forgotten, a week before the story of Daniel Chong’s ordeal broke, the Secret Service was embroiled in its own scandal after revelations that agents had hired prostitutes during President Obama’s trip to Colombia. After a Congressional investigation, it turned out DEA agents had not only participated in that scandal, they also arranged liaisons for some of the Secret Service members, and — to top it off — tried to cover it up: destroying text-messages on their Blackberries and lying to investigators.

If nearly killing a detainee isn’t a fireable offense at the DEA, what is? Perhaps it’s time that they had a change in leadership. Michele Leonhart, most known for her difficulty in making adistinction between marijuana and heroin, has headed the DEA since 2007. At this point, it’s clear that she is either unable or unwilling to shake up the culture there. She should step down or be fired in order for a new nominee to take her place. The culture of a bureaucracy emanates from the top, and it’s clear that unless there is a change in leadership, the DEA is unlikely to change.

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  1. OK kids, this has got beyond a joke. Repeal your stupid drug laws and stop brutalising everyone. (It won’t be the first time prohibition failed and made corruption, organized crime, and contempt for the law, rampant.)

  2. Never happen Sue. More broadly and a largely off topic, it is time for a “U.S. spring”. Unfortunately and unlike the population in many other countries, civic understanding, activism, and the like are shunned by the mainstream in lieu of entertainment, McDonalds and Disney cultural.

    Any change I think will need to come from the outside, Other countries’ govs will need to stand up against the U.S. and force it to change and if not, isolate it and treat it like pariah it has truly become. Given the recent events with the Bolivian’s President’s plane, I even doubt that will happen.

    Maybe if the youth of the non U.S. world would develop an anti-U.S. stance, I mean something that shuns not only the policy, but also some of the cultural aspects (especially both policy and cultural aspects driven by lobbyists), then this may force the U.S. youth to do some serious questioning of the propaganda they have been feed and result in some seeds of change. If these external events translate into changes in their govs at home, all the better. In the end, for this to work, it would need to have a fashion and an economic component so that the U.S. youth feel shunned and shamed (out of fashion) and economically deprived. They would need to understand the cause of this is not the outside world, but their corrupt government and bankrupt culture. Maybe that would lead them to civic action and reform their government and change the more egregious aspects of the cultural, economic and policy hegemony it currently rains down on the world. That would include, of course, the stupid and futile war on drugs, which I submit, is nothing more a lobbyist promoted transfer of payments to the U.S. military industrial complex.

DMCA Abuse Will Cause Censored Product Review to Go Viral

Posted on July 31st, 2013 at 19:52 by John Sinteur in category: News


A manufacturer of studio lighting is about to discover that censoring critics is a very bad idea indeed. After a filmmaker published a less-than-glowing review of one of their products, UK-based Rotolight deliberately abused the DMCA to have the video removed from Vimeo on copyright grounds. But far from hiding the contents away, there are now signs that the review – and subsequent takedown – will become a prime example of the Streisand Effect.

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Government report: TSA employee misconduct up 26% in 3 years

Posted on July 31st, 2013 at 19:40 by John Sinteur in category: Do you feel safer yet?


And the stories of its failures spread faster than a speeding jetliner: TSA officers stealing money from luggage, taking bribes from drug dealers, sleeping on the job.

So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that a new Government Accountability Office report, citing a 26% increase in misconduct among TSA employees between 2010 and 2012, is striking a nerve with some travelers who’ve had to endure the shoeless, beltless shuffle on the trip through security.

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Revealed: NSA program collects ‘nearly everything a user does on the internet’

Posted on July 31st, 2013 at 16:17 by John Sinteur in category: Do you feel safer yet?


The latest revelations will add to the intense public and congressional debate around the extent of NSA surveillance programs. They come as senior intelligence officials testify to the Senate judiciary committee on Wednesday, releasing classified documents in response to the Guardian’s earlier stories on bulk collection of phone records and Fisa surveillance court oversight.

The files shed light on one of Snowden’s most controversial statements, made in his first video interview published by the Guardian on June 10.

“I, sitting at my desk,” said Snowden, could “wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email”.

US officials vehemently denied this specific claim. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, said of Snowden’s assertion: “He’s lying. It’s impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do.”

But training materials for XKeyscore detail how analysts can use it and other systems to mine enormous agency databases by filling in a simple on-screen form giving only a broad justification for the search. The request is not reviewed by a court or any NSA personnel before it is processed.

XKeyscore, the documents boast, is the NSA’s “widest reaching” system developing intelligence from computer networks – what the agency calls Digital Network Intelligence (DNI). One presentation claims the program covers “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet”, including the content of emails, websites visited and searches, as well as their metadata.

Analysts can also use XKeyscore and other NSA systems to obtain ongoing “real-time” interception of an individual’s internet activity.

Here’s a quote from the article that is really worrying:

The NSA documents assert that by 2008, 300 terrorists had been captured using intelligence from XKeyscore.

Since nobody heard about a single prosecution, and nobody has heard about an increase in population in Gitmo, there’s two options: 1) the NSA is lying about this number, or 2) the US has another place besides Gitmo where people disappear to.

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  1. When do they start training our children to act as informers, or has this already started?

  2. @chas: Oh that’s another good reason not to have children.

Making of Steve Jobs for Time

Posted on July 31st, 2013 at 16:04 by Paul Jay in category: Apple


Making of what unfortunately turned out to be the last portrait sitting of Steve Jobs. It was held in April 2010 at the Apple Headquarters in Cupertino, California. The material of this sitting was used for two TIME MAGAZINE covers and three of TIME MAGAZINES inside pages. The whole session took only 3minutes 18seconds. The first cover was the second frame – taken 45 seconds after Steve entered the room.

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Your app makes me fat

Posted on July 31st, 2013 at 7:53 by John Sinteur in category: News


Because on their deathbed, our users won’t be thinking,”If only I’d spent more time engaging with brands.”

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Now That It’s in the Broadband Game, Google Flip-Flops on Network Neutrality

Posted on July 31st, 2013 at 7:49 by John Sinteur in category: Google


In a dramatic about-face on a key internet issue yesterday, Google told the FCC that the network neutrality rules Google once championed don’t give citizens the right to run servers on their home broadband connections, and that the Google Fiber network is perfectly within its rights to prohibit customers from attaching the legal devices of their choice to its network.

At issue is Google Fiber’s Terms of Service, which contains a broad prohibition against customers attaching “servers” to its ultrafast 1 Gbps network in Kansas City.

Google wants to ban the use of servers because it plans to offer a business class offering in the future. A potential customer, Douglas McClendon, filed a complaint against the policy in 2012 with the FCC, which eventually ordered Google to explain its reasoning by July 29.

In its response, Google defended its sweeping ban by citing the very ISPs it opposed through the years-long fight for rules that require broadband providers to treat all packets equally.

“Google Fiber’s server policy is consistent with policies of many major providers in the industry,” Google Fiber lawyer Darah Smith Franklin wrote, going on to quote AT&T, Comcast and Verizon’s anti-server policies.

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