They harrassed me at home twice, talked to my employer and made a huge stink trying to create pressure.
I didn't cave and they eventually went away, because I committed no crimes and they knew it.
As a security researcher I sometimes make contact with controversial people in order to get information, like a journalist might. They wanted those contacts. Too bad.
Just from DEFCON connections, I'm on a first name basis with a roughly four different FBI employees who are constantly trying to recruit myself or friends as informants.
We discuss, openly, what a bad deal it is to be an informant and how I don't have any useful information for them anyway. But they persist. Thankfully lightly. Nothing like what you mentioned, but I fully believe that your story happens. And regularly.
This is the lesson I learned to teach to my kids.
I didn't get to this complete turnaround easily. It took years of systemic, post-911 malfeasance (and endless accompanying lies) by pretty much every fed LEO/IC agency, to nurture this mindset in me.
How are they supposed to investigate crime if nobody talks to them?
Nobody forces the FBI to have the system they have. We could have laws that make interrogation different. We could have laws that change the consequences of accidentally lying to federal agents, that raise the legal standard for consequential lies. The FBI could get rid of the no-fly list, they could stop threatening innocent security researchers to get info. We could get rid of "gotcha" interrogation techniques that are explicitly designed to try and trick people into signing away their rights.
They built this system, and nobody but them is to blame for it. If the FBI wants people to talk to them, they just need to stop punching people in the face. A lack of informants is a problem they created and that they can solve.
If the system puts in place some better checks and balances for people to fight abuses (as the one in the post on top), I will gladly go back and do my civic duties to stop crime.
So, how are they supposed to investigate if nobody talks? They are supposed to fight for better checks and balances, so people can start talking again.
I've been in many European countries and have travelled a lot to the US. I've never experienced a disconnect between police and the general population as stark as it is in the US. And it has also affected me. Seeing police anywhere tends to comfort me, in the US it makes me nervous. To be clear, I've never had any negative experiences with police anywhere myself, but stories about bad cops are just so prevalent in the US.
My dad taught me early on that talking to cops would likely get me into trouble, as they want to make an arrest, and it does not matter if you are guilty or not, as long as they get you to confess. Later experiences taught me that my dad, a well known and liked cop in our town, was not someone to be trusted either.
P.S.: I do have european citizenship. Also, dark skin.
Imagine it: You agree to an interview because you are a witness to a crime, tell 100% the truth, but then they take notes, misinterpret their own notes (either intentionally or due to incompetence), and then charge you with lying/obstruction.
I've seen it happen to completely innocent people. Sadly, the best advice is not to talk to investigators.
And yeah, I was terrified. It was a mistake to talk to them in the first place.
They got in my door by telling me they wanted my opinion on some activity they felt is a threat to a visiting president then things took a fast turn asking me about my research and contacts.
FBI is 100% allowed to lie to you but if you lie back to them they own you. They also like to catch you unprepared and off guard. Don't fall for it.
Say something like:
"I'm sorry this is not a topic I feel well prepared to talk about right now. If you have a court order I will honor it but even then I am going to need time to collect my thoughts and ensure I am speaking accurately. I'll walk you out"
Then get a lawyer to coach you on what you can and can't say. If they catch you in a lie even by accident they can -force- you to be an informant.
Isn't that racketeering?
Come to think of it, you might be on to something!
Any large-scale coordination will necessarily eclipse the individual and take on a life of its own; you can't really have it both ways.
The great self-referential inconsistency, if you will.
I am older and have spent a lot more time researching law now, and no longer choose to let strongarm chilling effects like this work.
There are tons of good people in law enforcement and three letter agencies that actually protect people. I know some of them.
I also know some overstep and abuse their power and it is on all of us to call it out when it happens.
"I had the FBI come threaten me to stop a talk that isn't as scary as 20 SCADA bugs," Graham says.
ref: https://www.darkreading.com/vulnerabilities---threats/power-... (2012)
You can be civil with people who don't share the same agenda as you. Shocking thought in today's society, I guess.
- you will be expected to report on what other people, including your friends, said or did. Even if they are not doing anything illegal FBI might want information to pressure them into being an informant.
I wasn't in a situation like that, but I expect it would have a huge chilling effect on me - I'd start self-censoring interactions with others our of fear they mention something benign, but gray area legally that I would laugh at otherwise, but now would be required to report and get them in trouble.
This wouldn't have to be something big - I'm sure at some point in time a friend of yours recommended a movie or a tv show that isn't available in your region, implying they have pirated a copy.
Would your first reaction be to notify FBI?
> INTERVIEWER: Tell me a little bit about how you felt about working for the FBI. What motivated you and what you thought you were, what ends you thought you were serving?
> WILLIAM O'NEAL: Well, in my community, the policemen were, I mean, it was the quickest way to gain respect. I mean, I think I grew up wanting to be a policeman, admiring and respecting policemen, although I always thought it was outside of my reach. I, my neighborhood was not unlike most people that grew up in Chicago, most young people, we were very mischievous and did a lot of juvenile-type, petty, criminal-type things, but stealing a car and all of a sudden having the FBI, having a case with the FBI, the thought of be--having, really going to jail got my attention. And, so when he asked me to join the Black Panther Party, and he used terms, he never used the word informant. He always said, "You're working for me," and I associated him as the FBI. So all of a sudden I was working for the FBI, which, in my mind, at that point, I associated with being an FBI agent. So I felt good about it. I felt like I was working undercover for the FBI doing something good for the finest police organization in America. And so I was pretty proud.
colloquially called "Brownshirts"
Also terrible fashion tastes.
Plus then you're on the government's radar and they think you're money-motivated, not patriotism-motivated. Everyone involved in any cases brought with your help will think poorly of you. This might turn into cases brought against you. You will never get a government job. Your identity will probably be exposed as an informant at some point -- usually through public court records.
If you actually are patriotism-motivated, go join the agency. There is no upside to informing on people.
At first, I thought the boy who was informing was with the good guys taking down drug kingpins. By the end of it, I realized the FBI were just manipulating and using up this young kid.
Polygraphs are not admissible as evidence in court and civilian employers are not allowed to administer them to employees. Regardless, the US Government still uses them for security clearance.
More information: https://antipolygraph.org/
The 2009 NAS report is particularly damming, but I can't find a free copy and I guess that's over a decade now, my mistake.
Somewhere between zero and very depending on how good the person doing the interrogating is and how much the person being questioned knows about the techniques being used against them.
It's basically a good cop bad cop routine without the expense of the good cop and half as many human factors to screw it up.
With your "very effective" conditions, I'd argue that an innocent person would quite often respond the same as a guilty person, making the process unreliable in a different way.
So I don't think it's mainly window-dressing. It's not perfect but enough to scare off most bad guys.
1. You almost never go through them unless you're in the process of obtaining a security clearance (I'd be quite surprised if the UK didn't do something similar for their clearance process). In fact, I have never heard of any other instance where someone was required to have one, as they are generally not admissible evidence in courts.
2. It is my understanding that the accuracy of polygraphs is mostly down to the skill of the person reading the device and giving the test (hence why they aren't usable as evidence).
The poly is not limited to one session. The examiner will keep asking the subject to come back until they are satisfied with the results, or until the subject quits their job. Depending on the personality type of the subject, it can be extremely stressful, or just routine. Many engineers are "Type A" and that is the type most susceptible to stress.
These rights are privately enforced. There is no public federal enforcement. You have to do what this gentleman is doing. Sue in the courts.
It is becoming apparent that the U.S. needs an independent agency focussed on transgressions by law enforcement / a civil rights enforcement bureau. One could keep it purely civil, to avoid conflicting with the DoJ. But in the same way that criminal prosecution is specialized enough that consolidating it in the DoJ makes sense, investigating law enforcement is specialized and conflicted enough that consolidating it under an independent agency makes sense.
Many agencies have an Auditor General with a cadre of agents whose entire role is to investigate and publicly report on what that agency does wrong. Sadly, I can't think of any Auditor General's office with the power to punish. So if the agency is acting unconstitutionally or illegally because the governor or agency director wants them to, it's on the public to push for change. That's a hard ask.
For issues with state agencies, contact your District Attorney or state Attorney General. I've never done this, but it's stuck in my mind as the path to go. If other people want to report their dead end stories of doing this, I'd welcome the lesson.
I've contacted the AG about stuff in the past. He was a complete idiot. I contacted him about a state law that was being violated by a state government policy and he said he would forward the complaint to the FBI. Why? It has nothing to do with federal law!
Note: outing classified to an Inspector General not cleared, will still get you thrown in prison. Even pointing in a direction to start asking questions or getting cleared may carry legal consequences that OIG has no authority to protect you from, even if in the end you are in the right.
I've often thought the OIG should be charged with and have authority to countermand and investigate executive agency oversteps through unfettered access to all information regardless of classification in the Executive branch, but it'll never happen.
I very much respect my friends and colleagues who have made the other choice, but it's a lifelong sacrifice of liberties that are otherwise present.
Note that each agency has its own IG (usually within an OIG directly under the top-level of the agency), there is not a single central OIG.
This was the case with prosecutors. Then in 1870, President Ulysses S. Grant consolidated them under the DOJ . The common portion of their work, criminal litigation, was specialised and conflicted enough that the benefits of densifying its practitioners outweighed the cost of distance from the field.
I argue a similar problem persists among our Auditors and Solicitors General. Yes, there are advantages to having them in house. But there are disadvantages, too, and the bad outweighs the good.
State agencies often have their own IG or similar office, and DAs may not have jurisdiction over state agencies. Some states have centralized agencies that have general oversight of illegal activities in state and sometimes local agencies, as well (Bureau of State Audits in California, for instance.)
We have such a organisation here (Aotearoa) to monitor the police. https://www.ipca.govt.nz/
It is mostly captured, policywise, and supports outrages committed by police.
It is a improvement over what there used to be, but not much.
What has made the biggest difference here is a succession of cases where it became undeniable that the police were raping and framing. They have taken shame and attempting to reform themselves, which is a surprise to those of us who over the years had to deal with the bigoted, prejudiced, violent pigs.
There is a lot of opposition within, and without, the police here. Time will tell.
Hence my objection to the pejorative term often applied to all police offers equally - it only advances a "them vs. us" mindset, which is not at all true for my country if you're not an active criminal, a country I share with the user I was replying to.
Responding to a taunt is an admission of guilt?
Sure. But it still just hurts your main argument.
Ask George Floyd... Oh wait, you cannot.
"Pig" is a pejorative term, I used it in connection with the violence, bigotry, prejudice, adn stupidity (forgot to mention that), the raping, the framing....
I did not use it as a replacement for "peace officer". I know what I said and I meant it
That seems to be quite clearly the intent.
Anecdotally around my region people refer to corrupt police officers as pigs, so when someone says something derogatory about 'pigs', it's colloquially understood as "the violent bad ones that extort and over-step, not the ones that help you find your dog."
Noting that I left out extort because that's incredibly rare here, and prosecuted very quickly if it ever does.
I should add a white person got killed the same way before that. No riots. No news. No screaming crying people in the streets demanding justice. No change then either. The family of that person didn't even get money from it.
I personally have a monthly recurring donation. Give what works for you.
Tagging money for specific issues is problematic because the organisation doesn’t change its budget percentages for small donations (money is fungible), and organisations find tagging difficult to manage [TODO insert article link here].
Ex: A policy of %80 towards earmarking & %20 towards the general fund to help boot up new projects / general admin would be totally fine with many donators.
What you talk about is much like the arguments against voting, while such logic makes society lose it's prisoner's dilemma for change.
But yes, they kind of used to do that.
No, it wasn’t. It was founded on an impotent central government. It later adopted checks and balances when it decided it needed a much more powerful central government and what it was founded on was unsuitable.
But just because US Gov 2.x lasted longer than 1.x doesn’t mean everything in the 2.0. release was perfect; its certainly needed many minor and bugfix releases, and there’s no reason to think that it might not at some point need another ground-up rewrite.
In the case of the FBI, the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility (essentially, the FBI’s “Internal Affairs” unit), DoJ Inspector General, your reps in either House of Congress, or members of the Judiciary Committee (in either House) or the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (in the Senate) or the Oversight and Reform Committee (in the House).
May also be worth going to media and/or NGOs, though which, if any (especially of the latter) are most likely to be useful varies a lot by who you are and what the exact details of thr misconduct are.
Private litigation may or may not be useful (both governmental and personal immunities come into play) and can be very expensive (though NGOs may help with this.)
A trooper knew he was holding an incorrect charge against my wife. The charge carried with it pretrial restrictions that would not have occurred under the correct charge (a "leash law" violation). IAD didn't care. The investigation even tried to explain the trooper's lie to the judge about why he was amending the charge as just a misunderstanding... yeah, ok. Neither state reps replied to my two letters. The governor claims he can't get involved in a court issue even though I only wrote him about the practices of the state police (which he oversees) leading to violations, and that the policy should change. I contacted the ACLU, but this is not a big enough issue for them.
The only thing with any traction is an investigative journalist who is pitching the story to their editor.
I'm not holding my breath, but I am either in the process of submitting or waiting to hear about: a complaint to the Bar about the ADA having information that it was an incorrect charge and allowing it to stand, the DOJ to investigate the practices of the state police knowingly holding false charges, and a response from my latest letter to the governor.
I would guess that would be the most expedient route, if you can get them interested. If you work for a big employer in their district, and are comfortable with it, having your employer reach out to them might help.
Well, the first more than the second; a rep doesn’t have to read your letter to be briefed and direct staff followup, which may itself produce results.
If it's a form letter, you're just going to be lumped in with the others of similar concerns.
This page suggests that the office does investigate misconduct claims and issue reports periodically:
This is basically internal affairs for the FBI. Report here. Personally, I would make a report here no matter what, just to start a paper-trail of them harassing you.
The way malwarebytes was handled is another example great the FBI has just alienated a large potential group of sources and this FBI idiot by bullying Mr Chebli has alienated a lot of Lebanese Americans who might provide information in future.
Besides why didn't you go for a lawsuit? They threatened and harassed you. They threatened your employment, your livelihood.
Not to mention you claim to be a security researcher and the first thing on your mind wasn't to record them and take down their details to publish later on internet.
It's a good punishment. It would prevent those who visits you to do certain work and with their face and name everyone will know what they are, where they live. In case people want to visit and leave some very justified feedback about the FBI.
It's perfectly legal to record them since they entered your home/property. Always, always record!
I bet they left a card so you could contact them. Even publishing that alone is good.
FBI is very afraid of the public light because of this in my opinion illegal stuff they do. FBI must have positive PR. Bad PR means less trust, less informants, etc.
A a security researcher you are supposed to know this stuff. How to deal with FBI, etc. I'm disappointed.
Most of the attempts to recruit informants are benign, as I mentioned in my own story elsewhere in the thread. It boils down to being in Vegas the same few days and having a drink and killing time talking about how great America is (yes, FBI agents generally do love their country). It's good PR for everyone involved.
I 100% would handle things very differently today and advise others based on my mistakes.
They gave me a good pretext for talking to me and caught me 30 seconds out of bed. Still. Lessons learned.
Just sharing another example.
An Iranian physicist, Sirous Asgari, visited some US universities. On his next entry into the US he was detailed by the FBI as he entered and handed a completely-invented indictment of numerous crimes, and they demanded that he become an informant.
He refused, since the indictment was completely phony. The FBI, furious, ensured he was charged with everything under the sun.
Even though the government lost its case against him (due to clear lies by the FBI), he was then thrown in an ICE jail, through utter Kafkaesque bureaucratic hand-offs. Had to endure near-prison revolts as the inmates tries to keep themselves free of Covid. A judge almost granted him release due to the dangers of getting ill, but then he caught Covid and nearly died, so his petition was rejected. He was finally swapped as part of a prisoner-swap deal with Iran. And yet he seems to be persona-no-grata now in Iran, as the assumption is that he must now be working for the FBI.
> Dr. Ibrahim’s oldest daughter Raihan Mustafa Kamal was denied boarding in Kuala Lumpur yesterday when she tried to board a flight to San Francisco to observe and testify at the trial in her mother’s lawsuit.
> Ms. Mustafa Kamal, an attorney licensed to practice law in Malaysia, was born in the U.S. and is a U.S. citizen. Ms. Mustafa Kamal was with her mother when Dr. Ibrahim was denied boarding on a flight from K.L. to San Francisco in 2005 (after having been told that her name had been removed from the “no-fly” list) under what now seem eerily similar circumstances. The DHS had been given notice that Ms. Mustafa Kamal would testify at the trial as an eyewitness to those events she witnessed in 2005.
Also, this excerpt from the complaint:
>In response, the agents pulled out two newspaper articles about Hezbollah and told Mr. Chebli, “We know you are a Hezbollah agent and were sent here by Hezbollah.”
What a couple of assholes.
> As a result, he was stranded in Lebanon for over a month, during which time the U.S. government confirmed that he had been placed on the No Fly List. Mr. Chebli was then able to obtain a one-time waiver to fly home.
If someone is dangerous enough to be on the No Fly List why would the US government allow them to fly? To the US? Even once? And if they're safe enough to fly on that occasion why are they, upon landing (presumably safely), once again considered unsafe to fly? The No Fly List logic just doesn't quite add up for me...
Because it was never about him being dangerous. It was about creating a condition where he felt trapped. And if you are a US Citizen stuck in a foreign country international news orgs notice that. Investigations get started. Questions get asked. And this thing that is wildly unconstitutional gets asked about in a public court. But if it's a US Citizen in the US it can be conveniently swept under the rug. The investigations now not so urgent.
It's not logical, it's political theater. Like the whole TSA, basically.
Legally I'm assuming people on the no fly list can still take a boat in to town.
Extend this logic just a millimeter further and you should understand how awful the no fly list truly is. If we have evidence a person is too dangerous to fly, and we're willing to let everyone know that we know they're dangerous, why wouldn't we just take them into custody and charge them with a crime? Put them in prison, or get them to roll on someone involved in their conspiracy?
But of course, there's approximately never any evidence.
That case of misappropriation is not alone, just look at other things like surveillance or civil asset forfeiture. Or social security numbers.
Edit: It probably has already settled at "now included in too many useful applications" that it's too big to fail now.
Those people are, by the definition you've used, perpetrators of an actual crime. (at least 375 have been charged, as of a few days ago) Not comparable to the traditional victim of the no fly list at all.
Suspected rioters travelling to and from riots, whose arrest is imminent, would appear to be the most sympathetic use of extrajudicial law enforcement action to keep people off a plane via a no fly list. I don't think there's a big problem there. It is a case that has nothing to do with the standard due process arguments against the no fly list.
I agree that using the no fly list to prevent anyone who was present as a protestor in DC from flying, regardless of whether they were suspected of having committed a crime, would be excessive. I saw shortly after the riot that the chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security suggested TSA and the FBI put protestors identified as having entered the Capitol building on the no fly list. That position, working under the assumption that people who entered the Capitol building during a riot while federal law enforcement was trying to secure it committed a crime and ought to be indicted, doesn't seem crazy.
I think there might be an issue with these too. It's titled a no-fly list, but I think they have additional restrictions too. I'm not sure if they deny entry based on it too.
"...the right to return to the United States is inherent in American citizenship.” Fikre v. FBI. Which was about this exact issue. They can put you on the no fly list, but if you get to the Border, there is an absolute right for citizens to enter, even without a passport.
Of course, the courts might not get around to enforcing your right to enter for a few months or years, and it might cost you a fortune in lawyer fees
I think its a rather gaping hole in the constitution that has been ruthlessly exploited. Warrantless searches at the border were allowed to be exempt from the 4th amendment since customs agents needed to be able to inspect goods coming in to apply tariffs appropriately and prevent contraband.
Snooping through people's personal papers and phones is pretty far outside of that mandate if you ask me.
The takeaway is that if you have the time, you are free to tell them that you won't be providing a password. They are free to hold you for a 'reasonable' amount of time (reasonable could mean many hours). And they are also legally allowed to seize your phone and allow you entry to the country.
For example , the FBI arrested Syrian-Canadian engineer Maher Arer while he changed planes in USA. The FBI imprisoned him without charges, denied him a lawyer, and then kidnapped him and delivered him to a prison in Syria where he was tortured for 10 months. His wife finally got the Canadian government to intervene and get him out. The head of RCMP (Canada's FBI) resigned in shame for letting it happen. All of the US people responsible continued with their lives as before. A few of them apologized.
It seems that citizens (and even permanent residents, which was not the case in e.g. Japan for several months) are free to enter. Sure, number of planes and seats are limited, but that's a different matter from denying entry at the border.
They can of course arrest you the second you set foot in the country, but that's an entirely different story. They must allow you to inter.
> They must allow you to inter.
That's evidently not true. Or at least grossly misleading. Countries can and are refusing to allow all people who want to get onto flights bound for the country they're citizens of.
My country (.au) is currently limiting inbound international travellers to 3000 per week, with over 40,000 Australian citizens registered as trying to get home. Some of those people have been trying for close to 12 months to get home.
These restrictions mean that airline seat pricing is going insane. In pre Covid times, I'd regularly fly Sydney to SF round trip for $AUD1500-$2000 or so on United. A recent news report says they're now flying business/first class only flights with the cheapest one way LA-SYD tickets being $AUD21,000.
Can you imagine being on a trip last Jan/Feb with a return ticket for March or April, only to be told your return ticket keeps getting bumped for higher paying customers but you could always upgrade to a $21,000 ticket to get home. And your travel insurance says "Sucks to be you, you're not covered for pandemics, as outlined in section 374 on page 93 of your Product Disclosure Document you got when you paid your premium. Have a nice day!" So now you're stuck in the US, originally of a 90 day tourist visa waiver and not legally able to work, and there's no casual work available anyway because of Covid shutdowns, and you've needed to manage to find food/shelter for 12 months while waiting for a flight home. I know one of those people, and know of several more...
Theoretically speaking, if a ship crew of only AU citizens would dock at an Australian port, they would not be denied entry given that they follow quarantine procedures, I assume?
This includes the USA, which is the country in question here. So yes, there seems to be a strong case that this is in fact breaking their own regulation and treaties.
He should have also gone to the media much sooner or threatened to take this public. Yes, it is now, but had he gone to the media sooner, I'm sure the FBI would've backed off a lot sooner. Having a Muslim racially profiled, intimidated and then put on a no-fly list for no reason is not a good look for that agency.
We have had a steady stream of stories like this for almost 20 years now. Nothing substantial has changed. I don’t think the FBI is worried about PR around this at this point.
So why is this time “substantially different”?
I hadn't seen his story before, the ones I had seen were residents. Supposedly, there aren't very many citizens on the list:
"According to leaked documents published by The Intercept, there were more than 47,000 people on the No Fly List as of August 2013, including 800 Americans." 
Chebli's story does include the additional wrinkle of the recruitment, harassment, threats, etc, and thus first amendment violation petitions for relief.
How is that substantially different?
In April 2005, 70000 people were on the list. I bet most fit this description of yours.
If you are going to take something to the Supreme Court you want a Plaintiff who looks like a boy-scout to the press. You want to make sure that they can't retroactively dig up a reason for the guy to be on the no-fly list. It needs to be clear that the only reason that he is on that list is that he said "no, thank you" to the FBI
The recruitment and harassment beforehand is also somewhat unique.
You mistyped. 200 years
.. is what the DHS was created for? After 9/11 some Muslims had to be punished for something, regardless of personal guilt, and here we are.
There have been worse outcomes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdulrahman_al-Awlaki
> Both bills were never put to a vote, although a significantly altered version of the House bill became law as the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.
Was he under arrest? The FBI is not obligated to bring you an attorney if they are merely interviewing you.
> He should have also gone to the media much sooner or threatened to take this public. Yes, it is now, but had he gone to the media sooner, I'm sure the FBI would've backed off a lot sooner.
I somehow doubt it. Muslims (and antiwar activists) being placed on no fly lists were often in the news. That didn't stop it.
No, they are not obligated to do so. However, I believe he would have fully been within his rights to say "I am not prepared to talk to you, I do not feel comfortable continuing this interview without my attorney present."
Following your logic they've contacted her just for the fuck of it. Looks like grasping at straws trying to prove that russian asshole got to be worse than the american asshole.
Well then FSB had treated her way better than FBI treated Ahmad.
As for the main point - assholes (or let just say criminals protected by respective government) are still assholes. There is no reason to be proud that you did not fuck / killed as many.
Given the choice, would you rather be a dissident in the USA or in Russia? Would you rather be Ed Snowden (the US politely asks that he come home to stand trial) or Alexei Navalny (nearly died after Russian agents slipped poison into his tea)? You say there is no difference, so maybe you would like to just flip a coin.
It is beyond absurd to claim that the US is just as bad as Russia, and it is equally ridiculous to claim that no comparisons can be drawn and all crimes are just as bad. Of course the US has done things that are wrong, but what Russia does is much worse. It is not a matter of being proud, it is a matter of being rational.
Bad in what way? If we are talking treating their own subjects I would say in average the US does much better than Russia. No argument here. Does not mean that it did not kill people for political reasons. Victims of Kent State shootings or Fred Hampton may attest to that. I am pretty sure if you dig deep enough you will uncover some more.
Internationally I think US kills and otherwise harms way more people than Russia. They just declare it legal and sleep well. Again victims might disagree.
How could he go to the media before getting banned? There's not much to go on, especially if he didn't have a recording.
The other part is, who will actually listen to that story? My wife was subjected to pretrial restrictions on a charge that the trooper knew was incorrect. I even have evidence supporting it. An investigative journalist pitching it to their editor, but other than that nobody cares. IAD thinks it's fine, the DA thinks it's fine (an ADA was also aware that the charge was wrong, but I don't think the complaint with the Bar will result in anything), and the judge misapplied the law and contradicted himself so that the issue could be ignored in court.
This story is making me reconsider contacting the FBI/DOJ about police misconduct.
The only thing stopping them is that there's probably a few grey beards who remember the media hell they got for the Texas BBQ
They also have to care about having a case that will win and not lose and set bad precedent.
Unfortunately, the Supreme Court is stacked against them and they have to have cases that will provoke public outrage if it goes the wrong way to prevent the court from going too far off track.
Having sympathetic defendants is unfortunately something required for right now.
There is a reason why you know about Rosa Parks and not Claudette Colvin.
There must be a good reason the no fly list has not come to the us supreme court - probably because the govt delays and then folds if anyone has a compelling case. But it must come to trial! I know there are dangerous terrorists in the world that want to kill me, and I don't want to enable them. But there's a lot more people on the no fly list in the us for very dubious considerations (probably, the number must be a secret too).
And yet here we are, with it still going on.
If the courts are not prepared to rule the no-fly list unconstitutional, then they need to start awarding damages to people who have been placed on the list. Either the government proves in court that there was a legitimate reason to prevent a person from flying or they compensate that person for all the harm that ensues.
We are still being deprived of our liberty without due process, making it unconstitutional.
IANAL but it would not surprise me if the courts further restricted the ability of law enforcement to arbitrarily
modify the no-fly list in the future.
Monitor someone who they wanted to recruit until they could
1) find an accusation for which the target would have no alibi (although they were clearly innocent)
2) confront the target with the accusation and the penalties for it,
3) say that (as an agent) "I personally think that you are innocent although you have no alibi and would have to be found guilty if reported,
4) "but to prove your loyalty, you could help us just this once in our fight against the criminals we just accused you of working with."
- You not getting a job.
- You losing a job.
- You getting "moved" to small villages (e.g. as a teacher).
And if they couldn't affect you they went for your relative. E.g. your children being bared from studying at a university even if they are qualified and so on.
The whole film is fantastic.
I'd highly recommend also watching Christian Petzold's Barbara . It's an equally fine film, but it has a different focus.
Here, the heroine is an ordinary physician (played by Nina Hoss), banished from Berlin to some province. The film captures the nightmare for the ordinary citizen of authoritarian police states, including the depressing fact that nearly anyone in your life could be informing on you. We also see how cooperating with the state authorities can get you privileges, such as better housing.
p.s.: this review is quite good. Almost felt like quoting it in full, as it is rather topical to the thread as well:
It's very German, but also very Soviet, it's almost surreal.
These two seem to be getting more popular nowadays.
If it's "we the people", it's totally fair and indicative of a very progressive and tolerant society. Or something.
This is a very dishonest framing.
However, the tightly guarded boundary between "tolerant" and "intolerant", as well as "context thereof" must be defined precisely and not be moved around according to one's mood, or depending on whether someone is losing an argument, or whether someone is in an outgroup or in an ingroup.
A good application of the paradox of tolerance requires integrity, which is a threatened species among human traits.
What these FBI agents did, if true, was reprehensible. But surely we can come up with a better comparison than one of the most evil secret police regimes ever to exist.
The FBI isn't "less evil" because they "tolerate" laws that they have no ability to ignore. They aren't tolerating them out of the goodness of their hearts, or out of a sense of morality. If they had the ability to ignore them, they would.
Edit: Re: responses
I'm not claiming that the FBI is incapable of violating the law, I'm objecting to the parent's claim that they are somehow "less evil" than the Stasi because they "allow" the law to be upheld, when they're not the ones allowing anything. Yes, when they are able to get away with breaking the law, they sometimes do. It's not clear how prevalent this is, because "able to get away with it" implies not getting caught.
They do have the ability to ignore laws, lots of government organizations ignore congressional guidance all the time and it only ever comes back to bite them if someone objects loud enough.
The US legal system doesn't "prevent" people from doing anything, we just punish violations and for those violations to be punished someone who cares about the violation has to be aware of the violation.
It's a pretty common meme in cop shows today that "We can't wait for a judge to give us a warrant - let's bust down the door" to which the audience cheers since bad guy is obviously bad, but that is illegal and, it can potentially destroy a case IRL - but only if the defense finds out the entry was illegal.
Not to be too inflammatory but there are plenty of cases where they ignore them without technically having the ability.
The hicks and the inner city crowd both mostly hate federal law enforcement.
The Bill of Rights doesn't permit anything, but rather lists certain inalienable rights held by all persons on U.S. soil--or so the story goes. The worry that it could be construed as a list of grants was extremely controversial.
The fact that there still exists, to some degree, a mechanism in the USA to challenge this in some cases is indeed something to celebrate, but the quite reasonable comparison is not just legitimate and appropriate but is a tool for trying to fix the injustice, not just retail (one victim at a time) but wholesale (change of law).
There's a quantitive difference between an FBI agent inviting an idiot to coffee, and fabricating a plot with him to blow up a post office, and an FBI agent getting in touch with an idiot who is plotting to blow up a post office, and offering to give him fake explosives.
The former might be entrapment. The latter is good policework.
The police would plant people in suspect groups who pressure the rest of the group to engage in terrorist activity.
This isn’t exclusive to 1970s USA. Similar things happened in mosques after 9/11 where Imans would know an FBI agent simply because he was the only extremist in the congregation.
And in the United Kingdom, there were long term plants in environmental organisations who engaged in ecoterrorism.
I do not recall any stories of the latter.. perhaps there is one or some - and perhaps things have occurred that saved the X Y or Z and we'll never know - and that's great.
However I think it's high time that people paid more attention to the details of these "be afraid / keep sending us budgets" stories and see that many are fabricated just to check off a PR box.
9 out of 10 sex trafficking headline stories are the same, and similar.
It's not just the top level of the DOJ - the local law agencies use the same playbook (especially vice squads) for the same reasons. imho.
The more we start comparing to other countries and say “oh well at least we’re better than them” the more complacent people are.
Not to mention many of US’s worst action have had the excuse of “well there was some worse country out there we gotta stop!”
So we have to be thankful that we are "allowed" to spend our life's saving on fighting a lawsuits against a trillon dollar government ?
For every such case there are probably 100 other people who folded. There is no difference between those cases and cases where stasi might have done the same thing. It is 100% same.
Let's not mention people lacking money for a proper legal defense.
But now that we're talking about it, you might want to read about FISA Courts. Also stuff like https://www.aclu.org/press-releases/federal-court-sides-aclu... and yet..
Edit: Your boos mean nothing, I've seen what makes you cheer.
For example, the author experienced involuntary exile while technically "not guilty." Many employers will fire an employee who is charged with a crime, without a conviction. A "not guilty" person can be arrested and held in jail until a court date which could get postponed repeatedly.
There are plenty of cracks people can fall (or be pushed) into.
Would you be willing to risk that the system you live in is decent? I live in the UK and I hope I never need to find out, because I have a few doubts.
We (America) have lots of folks that accept plea agreements because we put pre-trial folks in jail and treat them like criminals, which can easily ruin lives even if you are found not guilty.
Of course, you might not be talking about the US system when you refer to a decent system, so maybe you are correct.
Once again, it's just the garbage logic that EVERYTHING can potentially affect more than one state, so they have the right to control everything via the interstate commerce clause.
What are you even talking about?
Sure a NH or ME politically appointed administrator would follow that acknowledgement up with something about being bound to serve the will of the public/electorate but acknowledging public opinion is a thing that needs to be considered probably puts him in the top half of Massachusetts political appointees.
The UK is also proposing a law to give informers and police widespread immunity from prosecution for undercover crimes: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/spy-cops-law-bill-polic...
That's the basic premise of any state and society.
Shafting people has been around for aeons
It's their job to pick someone, you can't assume guilt because he was chosen.
He's got a lot to lose which the article makes painfully clear:
- time with family
- personal reputation
- fulfilling personal/religion goals
- ... and a lot more
Personally, I think it enlightening to consider the opposite scenario: what about those on the fringe with nothing to lose? The FBI has a life changing program for you! They'll give you a sense of purpose, a feeling like you're part of something, and all the support you need to ... become the star of the next foiled terrorist plot.
Leverage takes many forms, and need not have anything to do with being guilty of a crime.
This is an absolutely disgusting suggestion.
Maybe on paper or as long as you are lucky.
In most EU countries such stories of police abuse are way, way less common.
Including things like unwarranted searches, seizing money with no good reason, swatting, aggressive questioning.
Maybe you can let us know about the facts you have at hand to make claims like these.
EDIT: yes I got it thank you to everyone who explained. I'm not a native english speaker and misunderstood the phrasing.
But their statement was open to misinterpretation, and it's possible that I might be the misinterpreter.
Here's an audio interview with Ruth Wilson Gilmore elaborating. https://theintercept.com/2020/06/10/ruth-wilson-gilmore-make...