Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for July 21st, 2015

Don’t mess with campus cops: Missing a front license plate, get shot to death

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Kate Briquelet reports at The Daily Beast:

A newly engaged dad was fatally shot by a University of Cincinnati cop on Sunday—raising questions about the university force’s authority off campus and adding to the toll of unarmed black men dying in police encounters.

UC officer Ray Tensing pulled over Sam Dubose, 43, a mile from the school because he was missing a front license plate, police announced Monday.

But at some point during the 6:30 p.m. traffic stop, Tensing and the father of 13 allegedly began tussling through the car window. Dubose started driving away and Tensing fired a shot into his head, authorities said.

“Officer Tensing…asked Mr. Dubose multiple times to provide a license,” university police chief Jason Goodrich said at a press conference. “He produced a bottle of alcohol inside the car … but was unable to provide a driver’s license.”

Authorities say a struggle ensued when Dubose refused to exit the vehicle. He was shot moments after trying to speed off, and the car rolled for a block before stopping. Dubose was pronounced dead at the scene, Goodrich said.

Still, it’s unclear how the routine traffic violation turned deadly.

As of Monday afternoon, investigators were waiting to interview Tensing and two other officers at the scene. All three cops declined to make immediate statements but have 24 hours to do so according to their contracts, Cincinnati police Lt. Col. James Whalen said.

Asked if Dubose had a weapon, Whalen replied, “To the best of my knowledge, no.”

Police are reviewing footage from Tensing’s body camera and surveillance from a nearby building, Whalen said. . .

Continue reading.

The 24-hour wait before questioning is available only to cops; regular citizens get questioned at once. It’s part of the overall cop-immunity thing.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 July 2015 at 12:52 pm

Posted in Law Enforcement

The NY Times gets a well-deserved blast from Glenn Greenwald

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Greenwald reports in The Intercept:

One of the very few Iraq War advocates to pay any price at all was former New York Times reporter Judy Miller, the classic scapegoat. But what was her defining sin? She granted anonymity to government officials and then uncritically laundered their dubious claims in The New York Times. As the paper’s own editors put it in their 2004 mea culpa about the role they played in selling the war: “we have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been. In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged.” As a result, its own handbook adopted in the wake of that historic journalistic debacle states that “anonymity is a last resort.”

But 12 years after Miller left, you can pick up that same paper on any given day and the chances are high that you will find reporters doing exactly the same thing. In fact, its public editor, Margaret Sullivan, regularly lambasts the paper for doing so. Granting anonymity to government officials and thenuncritically printing what these anonymous officials claim, treating it all as Truth, is not an aberration for The New York Times. With some exceptions among goodNYT reporters, it’s an institutional staple for how the paper functions, even a decade after its editors scapegoated Judy Miller for its Iraq War propaganda and excoriated itself for these precise methods.

That The New York Times mindlessly disseminates claims from anonymous officials with great regularity is, at this point, too well-documented to require much discussion. But it is worth observing how damaging it continues to be, because, shockingly, all sorts of self-identified “journalists” – both within the paper and outside of it – continue to equate unverified assertions from government officials as Proven Truth, even when these officials are too cowardly to attach their names to these claims, as long as papers such as the NYT launder them.

Let’s look at an illustrative example from yesterday to see toxic process works. The New York Times published an article about ISIS by Eric Schmitt and Ben Hubbard based entirely and exclusively on unproven claims from officials of the U.S. government and its allies, to whom they (needless to say) granted anonymity. The entire article reads exactly like an official press release: paragraph after paragraph does nothing other than summarize the claims of anonymous officials, without an iota of questioning, skepticism, scrutiny or doubt.

Among the assertions mindlessly repeated by the Paper of Record from their beloved anonymous officials is this one:

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Leave to the side the banal journalistic malpractice of uncritically parroting the self-serving claims of anonymous officials, supposedly what the paper is so horrified at Judy Miller for having done. Also leave to the side the fact that the U.S. government has been anonymously making these Helping-The-Enemy claims not just about Snowden but all whistleblowers for decades, back to Daniel Ellsberg if not earlier. Let’s instead focus on this: the claim itself, on the merits, is monumentally stupid on multiple levels: self-evidently so.

To begin with, The Terrorists™ have been using couriers and encryption for many, many years before anyone knew the name “Edward Snowden.” Last August, after NPR uncritically laundered claims that Snowden revelations had helped The Terrorists™, we reported on a 45-page document which the UK Government calls “the Jihadist Handbook” written by and distributed among extremist groups that describes in sophisticated detail the encryption technologies, SIM card-switching tactics and other methods they use to circumvent U.S. surveillance. Even these 2002/2003 methods were so sophisticated that they actually mirror GCHQ’s own operational security methods for protecting their communications. . .

Continue reading.

The NY Times is unfortunately on the decline so far as actual journalism. Do read the entire article at the link. From later in the article:

The New York Times‘ claim that ISIS learned to use couriers as a result of the Snowden revelations is almost a form of self-mockery. Few facts from Terrorism lore are more well-known than Osama bin Laden’s use of couriers to avoid U.S. surveillance. A 2011 article from The Washington Post – more than two years before the first Snowden story – was headlined: “Al-Qaeda couriers provided the trail that led to bin Laden.” It described how “Bin Laden strictly avoided phone or e-mail communications for fear that they would be intercepted.”

And the NY Times acts unethically as well:

As has been documented many times, Edward Snowden never publicly disclosed a single document: instead, he gave the documents to journalists and left it up to them to decide which documents should be public and which ones should not be. As I’ve noted, he has sometimes disagreed with the choices journalists made, usually on the ground that documents media outlets decided to publish should have, in his view, not been published.

One of the newspapers that published documents from the Snowden archive is called “The New York Times.” In fact, they are responsible for publication of some of the most controversial articlesoften cited by critics as ones that should not have been published, including ones most relevant to ISIS. When it comes to claiming credit for Snowden stories, The New York Times is very good at pointing out that they published some of these documents. But when it comes to uncritically publishing claims from anonymous officials that Snowden stories helped ISIS, The New York Timessuddenly “forgets” to mention that they were the ones that actually made many of these documents known to the world and, thus, to ISIS. What The New York Times is actually doing in this article is accusing itself of helping ISIS, but just lacks the honesty to tell their readers that they’re the ones who did this, opting instead to blame their source for it. In the NYT‘s blame-their-source formulation: “The Islamic State has studied revelations from Edward J. Snowden.”

When I was first told about The Sunday Times‘ now disgraced story claiming that Russia and China obtained the full Snowden archive, my initial reaction was that the story was so blatantly inane and so journalistically corrupted – based exclusively on unproven, self-serving accusations from anonymous UK officials – that it wasn’t even worth addressing. I changed my mind anddecided to write about it only when I saw huge numbers of journalists sitting around on Twitter that night uncritically assuming that these claims must be True because, after all, government officials said it and a newspaper printed it.

I went through exactly the same process when I saw this Snowden-helps-ISISclaim laundered yesterday in The New York Times. I assumed that the “journalism” here was so glaringly shoddy that nobody needed me to write about it, and that a few mocking tweets would suffice. Everyone knows by now to treat anonymous government claims like this critically and not accept them as true without evidence – or so I reasoned.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 July 2015 at 10:04 am

Posted in Government, Media, NY Times

A ‘Golden Key’ for Encryption Is Mythical Nonsense

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In Motherboard Sarah Jeong points out what should be obvious, but something the Washington Post editorial staff cannot seem to grasp:

Last year, the Washington Post editorial board called for tech companies to create a “golden key” that would decrypt otherwise secure user communications for law enforcement. Apple, Google, Facebook, and others ignored the editorial, coming out with end-to-end encryption for iMessage and Facetime, end-to-end encryption for Gmail, and PGP for Facebook notification emails. Now, the Washington Post isdoubling down on its call for a “golden key.”

The problem noted by many last year is that a backdoor to encryption, even if euphemistically rebranded as a “front door” or a “golden key,” is by definition a vulnerability. Building in backdoors threatens consumers and makes them vulnerable to criminals and hostile foreign governments alike. See, for example, the FREAK andLogjam vulnerabilities, discovered earlier this year. The FREAK attack can allow a malicious hacker to “steal or manipulate sensitive data” in transit—think, a password for your online banking, a credit card number, a compromising photo.

Both FREAK and Logjam originate out of 1990s “export-grade” cryptography—purposefully weakened encryption from the last time the government was pushing for the kinds of “golden keys” that the Washington Post is now advocating for. These days, not a week goes by that another major hack makes the news: OPM, Hacking Team, Ashley Madison. All this, even without a federal mandate to purposefully make things less secure.

The newspaper’s editorial board last week called for the National Academy of Sciences to examine “the conflict.” In other words, the Post thinks we had better hear both sides. “All freedoms come with limits,” the board writes, “it seems only proper that the vast freedoms of the Internet be subject to the same rule of law and protections that we accept for the rest of society.”

But it’s not illegal to lock your door at night. It’s not illegal to have a whispered conversation in a park. It’s not illegal to walk out of sight of a CCTV camera. It’s not illegal to carry cash.

Certainly, it is a great blow to law enforcement that some encryption cannot be broken for them, just like it is a great blow to law enforcement that we don’t have the telescreens from 1984 installed in our bedrooms. There are some things law enforcement do not get to see and do not get to have, even with a warrant. That is how things have always been, and our society has yet to fall apart because of it.

For a long time, the fight around online privacy has orbited around the phrase, “Get a warrant.” But that does not mean a warrant is a magic incantation that should conjure any information imagined and desired. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 July 2015 at 9:52 am

Chicago’s police review agency fires investigator for not exonerating cops

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Apparently Chicago’s police review agency believes that cops should always have immunity regardless of what they do. Radley Balko reports in the Washington Post:

From WBEZ in Chicago:

A Chicago investigator who determined that several civilian shootings by police officers were unjustified was fired after resisting orders to reverse those findings, according to internal records of his agency obtained by WBEZ.

Scott M. Ando, chief administrator of the city’s Independent Police Review Authority, informed its staff in a July 9 email that the agency no longer employed supervising investigator Lorenzo Davis, 65, a former Chicago police commander. IPRA investigates police-brutality complaints and recommends any punishment.

Davis’s termination came less than two weeks after top IPRA officials, evaluating Davis’s job performance, accused him of “a clear bias against the police” and called him “the only supervisor at IPRA who resists making requested changes as directed by management in order to reflect the correct finding with respect to OIS,” as officer-involved shootings are known in the agency.

Since its 2007 creation, IPRA has investigated nearly 400 civilian shootings by police and found one to be unjustified.

Oddly enough, Davis was getting stellar reviews up until he found a few cases in which he believed police had inappropriately fired their weapons.

Through most of his IPRA tenure, Davis’s performance evaluations showered him with praise. They called him an “effective leader” and “excellent team player.”

The final evaluation, issued June 26, said he “is clearly not a team player.”

“Team player” of course meaning “willing to side with cops who shoot people.”

Back in 2009, I wrote about the department’s record of exonerating bad cops and hiding bad behavior.

A 2008 study by University of Chicago law professor Craig B. Futterman found 10,000 complaints filed against Chicago police officers between 2002 and 2004. That’s more than any city in the country, and proportionally it’s 40 percent above the national average. Of those 10,000 complaints, just 19resulted in significant disciplinary action. In 85 percent of the cases, the complaint was dismissed without even interviewing the accused officer. The study also found that about 5 percent of the department’s 13,500 officers accounted for more than half the complaints.

Yet the Chicago PD recently went to federal court—and won—to prevent the release of the names of 662 officers who had more than 10 citizen complaints filed against them between 2001 and 2006. Even members of the city’s Board of Aldermen aren’t allowed to see the officers’ names.

Now, the police department is working to become even less accountable. Last October, a study from the Chicago Justice Project found that on those rare occasions when Chicago police brass want to fire an officer, the Chicago Police Board—the agency that oversees the department—nearly always overrules them. On the very same day that study was released, the department announced a new policy whereby it would reserve the option to file criminal charges against citizens who file police misconduct reports deemed to be without merit.

And of course this is the city where police were found to have tortured suspects for decades. Conveniently, the city managed to cover up the mess long enough for the statute of limitations to prevent all but one of the officers from facing any criminal charges. In 2008, the city’s most elite police unit was disbanded after officers were accused of a host of crimes from assault to theft to burglaries to conspiracy to commit murder. And just earlier this year, the Guardian reported new allegations of torture, beatings, and other physical abuse at an abandoned warehouse.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 July 2015 at 9:28 am

Posted in Law Enforcement

Test shave and new-brush bad lather, plus the iKon slant

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SOTD 21 July 2015

Extremely nice shave today, though I did not previously rinse the new brush nor did I make a test lather with it. It’s a Frank Shaving pure badger and I bought it to experiment with: I want to see whether singeing the tips will reduce the prickliness.

I had an Omega black pure badger that had needle-sharp tips, very prickly indeed. This one is not nearly so bad and actually seems pretty good to me, though I did detect a little more prickliness than usual. But I would be perfectly happy to use it as is.

As seems common with new brushes that go directly to work, the lather died completely away by the third pass (and was already somewhat sparse on the second pass). I’m pretty sure that the next lather will stick around: with badger brushes, the break-in (which I think is probably just washing away the sizing from the manufacturing process) is quite rapid. My Rooney silvertip was much the same as this Frank Shaving brush on first use, but the second use was fine.

Dr Selby’s 3x Concentrated Shaving Cream works quite well and is generous with the lather. The lid becomes the base, on which the bowl in the photo is sitting.

With the iKon stainless slants the secret seems to be to exercise extremely light pressure—and, of course, to find a brand of blade that works for you with light pressure. I used Personna Lab Blue and remembered to use the light pressure, so I got a flawless BBS shave.

A good splash of Stetson Classic, and I surge into the day.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 July 2015 at 8:53 am

Posted in Shaving

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