Tag Archives: Department of Justice

For Next Weapon in Anti-Protest Arsenal, US Military Building Plasma Gun Capable of Vaporizing Human Flesh

At its highest setting, the new laser weapon would painfully vaporize the outer layer of skin from 100 meters away. Also, this so-called “non-lethal” weapon can kill people.

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-18-2018

Beyond NoDAPL March on Washington, DC. Photo: Rob87438 [CC-BY-SA-4.0] via Wikimedia Commons

From wood batons to stun batons to water cannons to sound cannons to. . .  frickin’ plasma lasers that can “vaporize” your skin?

Recent reporting out of the Pentagon reveals that the U.S. military is working on perfecting what they called a Scalable Compact Ultra-short Pulse Laser System (SCUPLS)—or plasma gun, for short—intended for mounting on a truck or a tank.

Billed as the military’s latest “crowd control” technology, what this has typically meant is a new “non-lethal” weapon designed for use by militaries or police forces against unruly demonstrators or those standing against powerful state actors or corporate forces. Continue reading

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‘The Guy Who Defended Company That Caused Worst Oil Spill in US History’ Just Confirmed to Head DOJ’s Environmental Division

“Clark’s blatant hostility toward environmental protection is good news for polluters, but awful news for the rest of us.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-11-2018

U.S. Coast Guard crews work to put out a fire during the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard)

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.) joined with Senate Republicans on Thursday to confirm Jeffrey Bossert Clark—a climate-denying former attorney for the fossil fuel industry—to lead the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

“Clark’s blatant hostility toward environmental protection is good news for polluters, but awful news for the rest of us,” warned Environmental Working Group (EWG) president Ken Cook. “The guy who defended the company that caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history is not likely to aggressively go after corporate environmental outlaws.” Continue reading

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The national prison strike is over. Now is the time prisoners are most in danger

Heather Ann Thompson, University of Michigan

Photo: Pixabay

Over the last few weeks men and women across the United States – and even as far away as Nova Scotia, Canada – have protested to demand humane treatment for the incarcerated.

In 2016, when prisoners engaged in similar hunger strikes, sit-ins, and work stoppages, their actions barely registered with the national media. As someone who regularly writes about the history of prisoner protests and prison conditions today, this lack of interest was striking. Continue reading

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For families who have already been separated, policy change doesn’t guarantee reunification<

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order he says will “keep the families together” when they’re apprehended illegally crossing the border. But that does little for families who have already been split apart.

Undocumented immigrant children at a U.S. Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, Texas. Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

They crossed the border as families. Now, as some parents face the prospect of being sent back across it, many have no way of knowing how much deeper into the United States their children may have been sent without them — maybe all the way to north to New York or Michigan, or maybe just a few miles away in Texas.

The Trump administration has already reversed course on a widely-panned “zero tolerance” policy that resulted in separating more than 2,000 migrant children from their parents after they crossed the border together illegally; the president said Wednesday that families will no longer be split up. But in many cases, attorneys and advocates say, the damage is already done: Even if no more families are separated, there’s not yet a clear path for reuniting those who already were.

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With ‘Merger From Hell’ Reportedly Approved by DOJ, Warnings of Agrichemical Chokehold on Food System

Watchdog groups raise concerns after Wall Street Journal reports that Bayer’s bid to acquire Monsanto has been approved.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 4-9-2018

(L-R) Executive Vice President for the Agriculture Division of the E. I. DuPont de Nemours and Company James Collins, President and CEO of Dow AgroSciences, LLC, Tim Hassinger, CEO of Syngenta International AG Erik Fyrwald, President and CEO of Bayer CropScience North America Jim Blome, and Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of the Monsanto Company Robb Fraley testify during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee September 20, 2016 on Capitol in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing on ‘Consolidation and Competition in the U.S. Seed and Agrochemical Industry.’Photo: Zimbio

Watchdog groups sounded alarms on Monday after the Wall Street Journal reported that the proposed mega-merger of Bayer and Monsanto has cleared its final regulatory hurdle in the United States.

The reported approval from the Justice Department came “after the companies pledged to sell off additional assets,” the Journal reported, and despite concerns raised by hundreds of food and farm groups. It also comes weeks after the European Commission gave its thumbs up. Continue reading

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Census Rushes to Respond to Request to Add Citizenship Question

 

Image: JEC Democrats/Medium

By  Justin Elliott. Published 2-23-2018 by ProPublica

The Census Bureau is scrambling to respond to a last-minute request by the Justice Department to add a question on citizenship status to the 2020 census, according to hundreds of pages of emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The emails show that the DOJ’s December request set off a flurry of activity in the bureau as career Census officials hurried to research the history of how citizenship has been handled in past surveys, raced to come up with alternatives to the DOJ request and vented their frustration over public outrage on the issue. Continue reading

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Citing Poor Care for Mental Health in US Prisons, UK Court Refuses Extradition Request

For a second time in six years, the U.K. has declined to send an accused hacker to the U.S. out of concern for his safety in the care of the Department of Justice

By Julia Conley, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 4-6-2018 

Lauri Love. Photo: HackRead

An accused hacker will not be extradited to the United States after a British appeals court ruled that detaining the man in U.S. prisons would be harmful to his health and safety.

Lauri Love, who is accused to stealing information from U.S. military agencies and private companies in 2012 and 2013, had argued that his medical and mental health conditions—including severe depression and Asperger’s syndrome—would likely be mistreated in the U.S. prison system, putting him at risk for suicide. Continue reading

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‘Appalling’: Acting ICE Director Denounced for Threatening to Jail Elected Officials of Sanctuary Cities

The ACLU said Thomas Homan’s “outrageous threat” to charge local officials “for not carrying out Trump’s deportation agenda” should “disqualify” him from permanently filling the director post

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 1-3-2018

Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in a Fox News interview on Tuesday, Jan. 2 that politicians who lead sanctuary cities should face federal charges. (Photo: Fox News/screenshot)

Immigrant rights advocates are denouncing an “appalling and disqualifying” proposal by the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to charge with federal crimes elected officials who lead sanctuary cities, which often refuse to turn over or identify undocumented residents to the government’s immigration agents.

The ACLU said Wednesday that acting director Thomas Homan’s “outrageous threat” to bring charges against local politicians who enact and carry out sanctuary city policies “should disqualify [him] from consideration for the permanent ICE director post.” Continue reading

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‘Horrifying Step Backwards’ as Sessions Retracts Guidance Designed to End Abuse of Poor by Courts

Attorney General abandons directive to protect the poor from needless fines

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-22-2017

Civil rights advocates accused Attorney General Jeff Sessions of “turning back the clock” on criminal justice reforms after the Department of Justice rescinded Obama-era guidance that protected low-income defendants from being forced to pay gratuitous fees to local courts.

“Profit-minded court policies targeting the most economically vulnerable Americans have resulted in a resurgence of unconstitutional but widespread practices penalizing the poor and people of color,” said Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law. “Attorney General Jeff Session’s decision to retract guidance from the Justice Department rooting out practices resulting in a perpetual cycle of fines, debt and jail of America’s poor is a horrifying step backwards in ongoing efforts to reform the criminal justice system.” Continue reading

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‘Corporate Mercenaries’: Trump-Allied Firm Slammed for $1 Billion Suit Against Water Protectors

“This has now become a pattern of harassment by corporate bullies, with Trump’s attorneys leading the way.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-23-2017

Greenpeace was one of the environmental groups that joined indigenous people in protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. (Photo: Amanda J. Mason/@Greenpeaceusa/Twitter)

In what environmental justice groups are characterizing as legal harassment by “corporate mercenaries,” the company that owns the contested Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) has filed a lawsuit against Greenpeace, Earth First!, BankTrack, and individuals who oppposed and protested the pipeline, claiming over $300 million in damages.

Greenpeace general counsel Tom Wetterer said the “meritless lawsuit” is “not designed to seek justice, but to silence free speech through expensive, time-consuming litigation.” Continue reading

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