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    California Farmworkers Pressure Gov. Gavin Newsom on Union Bill

    news.movim.eu / TheIntercept · 13:00

The Agricultural Labor Relations Voting Choice Act, AB 2183, would allow farmworkers in California to vote on unionization by mail in order to avoid intimidation. The bill has the support of President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but an earlier version was vetoed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom — who himself owns a vineyard employing farmworkers. Newsom has until Friday, September 30 to sign the bill.

The post California Farmworkers Pressure Gov. Gavin Newsom on Union Bill appeared first on The Intercept .

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    chapitre 16 On ne peut vivre qu'une destinée à la fois extrait 110

    Angélique Andthehord · 3 days ago - 15:00 · 1 minute

- Et qu'est-ce qu'on est supposés en faire ?

- Vous êtes nos juges. L'année dernière, quand tout a été dit, on n'en a plus jamais parlé. Le dossier est fermé, en attente d'être jugé, par un grand, du CM2. On s'attendait à ce qu'il y ait un nouveau, quand on serait en CM2, et que ce serait lui le grand juge de notre histoire ; et vous êtes trois.

- Ben oui mais vous aussi, maintenant, vous êtes en CM2. Alors, on n'est pas plus grand que vous.

- Oui mais nous, on a tous parlé quand on était en CM1. On n'a plus rien à dire. Y a plus qu'à vous de prendre la parole. Alors, ici, dans l'école primaire, vous êtes les trois seuls grands qui pouvez encore parler. Du coup, vous êtes les juges de notre histoire. C'est à vous de savoir si elle doit être validée ou pas. Pour nous, tout est bouclé, on peut plus rien changer. C'est pour ça que la pièce manquante, tu dois pas la garder que pour toi. Elle est pour vous trois, Véronique, Olivier et toi.


extrait de : Cour d'Histoire


#contrariété #Cesson #solution #mystère #école #récréation #enfants #raison #justice #magie #discussion #amie #confidences #histoire #puzzle #jugement

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    Une enquête libyenne confirme que Sarkozy a «demandé» à Kadhafi un financement

    news.movim.eu / Mediapart · 5 days ago - 09:57

Selon des éléments obtenus par la justice française, l’ancien dignitaire Bachir Saleh a confirmé à des magistrats libyens que Nicolas Sarkozy avait personnellement sollicité auprès de Mouammar Kadhafi un financement de sa campagne présidentielle. Deux autres fonctionnaires du régime ont témoigné dans le même sens.
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    Sarkozy-Kadhafi: la bombe des archives Gaubert

    news.movim.eu / Mediapart · 6 days ago - 10:23

Homme de l’ombre de Nicolas Sarkozy depuis les années 1980, l’affairiste Thierry Gaubert avait laissé des traces explosives sur la Libye dans ses ordinateurs. Les preuves dormaient depuis onze ans dans les armoires de la police. Elles viennent de parler.
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    After Being Deported by U.S., Walter Cruz-Zavala Disappeared in Notorious Salvadoran Crackdown

    news.movim.eu / TheIntercept · 6 days ago - 10:00 · 15 minutes

Walter Cruz-Zavala should have been celebrating. Instead, he spent his 32nd birthday holed up on his father’s property in southern El Salvador, watching in horror as his nightmare scenario came to life on the local news.

Just over a year had passed since Cruz-Zavala accepted his deportation from the United States. It had been a tough decision. The undocumented Cruz-Zavala was twice victorious in his immigration case, but U.S. authorities, taking advantage of their extraordinary power and discretion, had kept him locked up for nearly four years. The reason, U.S. officials argued, was that Cruz-Zavala was a dangerous man. The purported evidence was tattooed across his chest in two large letters: “M” and “S.”

The assertion belied a more complicated reality. As a 2021 Intercept investigation revealed, Cruz-Zavala’s tattoo was given to him shortly after his 18th birthday by a confessed murderer, a man whom U.S. law enforcement had paid thousands to infiltrate Cruz-Zavala’s crew of friends. The informant was prodigious in his work shaping and encouraging young men and boys in an emerging MS-13 clique in San Francisco in the mid-2000s. Eventually, his efforts would land a nascent federal agency known as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement one of its biggest gang cases of all time.

Swept up in the operation, Cruz-Zavala spent his first years of adulthood in solitary confinement as the prosecution unfolded. His charges were dropped, and though he left MS-13 behind, a series of DUIs years later landed him in ICE custody. In May 2021, he was deported to a country he hadn’t seen since he was a child.

For a time, it seemed that Cruz-Zavala might be able to make a life in El Salvador. He sent his U.S.-based attorney Raha Jorjani updates, telling her about the calf he had helped deliver on the family farm and sending her a photo with his newborn nephew. Then, this spring, the precarious foundations of his existence in El Salvador buckled.

Facing an eruption of gang violence, the Salvadoran government empowered itself to undertake an unprecedented crackdown. With more than 51,000 arrests and counting, the campaign has been broadly popular in a nation where gang extortion and impunity have pummeled communities across the country for years. For men like Cruz-Zavala, seeking to escape his past, the “state of exception” instilled terror — fears of government abuse and internment with dangerous gang members who might seek to do him harm. Cruz-Zavala hunkered down at his father’s but was eventually taken and disappeared into a rapidly metastasizing Salvadoran prison system.

While each arrest is a story of its own, Cruz-Zavala’s stands out. The reason, Jorjani argues, is the moral responsibility the U.S. government has for the danger her client now faces. U.S. immigration judges ruled that Cruz-Zavala would likely face torture or murder if he were deported to El Salvador, thanks to the tattoo he was given by a paid U.S. government informant advertising allegiance to a gang he had left a decade and a half ago. ICE, the agency that recruited and paid the informant, kept Cruz-Zavala locked up and pursued his deportation all the same.

“Not only did you help put the tattoo on his body, but then you were given notice of the dangers it created for Walter,” Jorjani, a public defender in Oakland, said of the Department of Homeland Security, ICE’s parent agency. “You heard directly from expert after expert who warned that Walter would be harmed. Your own courts decided, ‘No, this person should be protected’ — but even then, you rejected those findings, and now we’re here.”

Accounts from human rights groups and investigative media outlets reveal that the conditions currently suffered by tens of thousands of people swept up in El Salvador’s crackdown sometimes amount to torture and, for at least 76 known cases as of late July, end in death.

“Your own courts decided, ‘No, this person should be protected’ — but even then, you rejected those findings, and now we’re here.”

Those outcomes — torture or death — are exactly what Cruz-Zavala and Jorjani feared as they appealed to immigration judges for protection. Twice, he won such protection under a provision of immigration law called the Convention Against Torture. The convention is based on a United Nations treaty, later adopted as U.S. law, whose full title is the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The precise day-to-day conditions Cruz-Zavala faces in prison are unclear, but the one piece of evidence available — a TikTok video — shows that he is undergoing cruel and degrading treatment.

The U.S. bears much of the responsibility for the rise and dominance of the two primary Central American gangs, 18th Street and Mara Salvatrucha — known as Barrio 18 and MS-13, respectively — both of which were formed in southern California. The U.S. also played a key role in destabilizing El Salvador, and much of the rest of Central America, in the mid-to-late 20th century, as American forces participated in genocidal campaigns and funded right-wing dictatorships that brutally targeted their own populations. As Central Americans began to flee the bloodshed, U.S. deportation policies began sending tens of thousands of young men back to the region, some of whom had since been initiated into the California gangs. Those men found a power vacuum in their devastated and destabilized home countries, quickly extending their ranks and beginning to prey on their communities. These were the conditions Cruz-Zavala fled as a child.

In a desperate attempt to secure Cruz-Zavala’s release, Jorjani has written repeatedly to Rep. Barbara Lee and Sen. Alex Padilla, both California Democrats, pleading for some form of U.S. intervention in his case. “We are calling for the U.S. government to intervene on behalf of Walter Cruz,” Jorjani said. “I understand this may seem like an exceptional ask, but this is an extraordinary situation.”

“State of Exception”

Cruz-Zavala set off for the U.S. alone when he was 14 years old, fleeing the gangs in his hometown and an abusive adult neighbor. The trauma of his childhood and his years in solitary confinement in California took a severe psychological toll. He drank heavily, and in 2017 he was arrested on a felony gun charge and turned over to ICE custody, where he would remain for the next four years.

Counselors, human rights experts, and even his probation officer argued that Cruz-Zavala had reckoned with the mistakes of his youth. He was working to understand the relationship between those mistakes and his own trauma, they said, and exiling him to El Salvador would expose him to extraordinary danger, including torture or murder at the hands of gangs or the Salvadoran state. In the end, none of it was enough: Cruz-Zavala was deported in May 2021.

In his first year in El Salvador, he kept a low profile, staying with his father, tending to livestock, and trying not to get killed by members of the gang he had renounced or the Salvadoran security forces that pursued them. He stayed in regular contact with Jorjani through WhatsApp. He told her that Salvadoran police had visited his family’s property shortly after his arrival, inquiring about his whereabouts. He wasn’t home, but he visited the local police station soon after, telling the officers there that he was no longer a gang member and allowing them to photograph his tattoos.

“He wasn’t hiding from anyone,” Jorjani said.

Then, this spring, came a wave of gang violence that rocked El Salvador, with dozens of people killed in a single weekend. Cloaked in the language of counterterrorism, the state of exception that President Nayib Bukele initiated in response was exactly what it sounded like: Salvadoran security forces fanning out across the country to round up suspected gang members, due process be damned.

When Jorjani reached out to wish him a happy birthday in early April, Cruz-Zavala responded with disbelief. Was she not watching the news?

“They’re going to start taking everybody to prison. This is crazy, man.”

On April 5, Cruz-Zavala left Jorjani a voice message. He couldn’t sleep. Young men and boys with tattoos were the target of the government’s crackdown. They already had the markings on his chest on file. It was only a matter of time before they came for him. “I think there is a moment when things are going to get worse. And when that happens, they’re going to start taking anybody with tattoos or they think belongs to the gang or whatever,” he said. “They’re going to start taking everybody to prison. This is crazy, man.”

Four days later, Cruz-Zavala tapped out his final message, and then: silence. He had been captured, his brother told Jorjani in an email. There was no news, no visits, no word of Cruz-Zavala’s condition until mid-summer. Jorjani was forwarded a TikTok video produced by the Salvadoran government, triumphantly depicting the mass intake of suspected gang members at one of the nation’s most notorious prisons. There, amid the shirtless men, their heads shorn by prison guards, was her longtime client, Walter Cruz-Zavala, kneeling on the concrete of a crowded prison yard. The sound of a clock ticking played in the background.

“El Tiempo De Las Pandillas Esta Llegando A Su Fin,” a message displayed at the end of the video read. “The time of the gangs is coming to an end.”

Illustration of prisoners

Illustration: Gracia Peña for The Intercept

Suffering Unknown

Early in the morning on April 20, less than a year after his deportation, Cruz-Zavala and a friend rode a motorcycle to a nearby city in the department of Usulután to pick up a used car the family had just purchased.

The trip should only have taken a couple hours, and Cruz-Zavala’s father, who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation or arrest, was expecting them back by mid-morning. After a slight delay, he was already worried — along with most Salvadorans, he’d been following the national crackdown — and called his son to check in. A mechanical issue had slowed them down, but they promised to be back by 1 p.m. As the afternoon progressed, and Cruz-Zavala hadn’t returned, his dad began to suspect that his son had been arrested.

A few hours later, a neighbor said they had seen Cruz-Zavala’s motorcycle at a police checkpoint. The next morning, the father called the local police station and confirmed that he had been arrested. That same day, he brought food to the local jail where his son was being held, but he was unable to see or speak with him.

In El Salvador, food rations for prisons are meager, unvaried, and inconsistent, Cruz-Zavala’s father explained. In early April, Bukele menacingly threatened to stop feeding prisoners at all if gangs continued making attacks. “I swear to God, they won’t eat a grain of rice, and let’s see how long they last,” Bukele said. That was after a previous reduction had changed the eating schedule from three to just two meals a day. “It’s always the same,” Cruz-Zavala’s father said in Spanish. “Rice and beans, a little bit of bread, and a hard-boiled egg. Every day, every meal, the same thing.”

Three days after his son’s arrest, when Cruz-Zavala’s father returned with additional provisions, he found a sign posted on the jail saying that the prisoners being held there had been transferred. It took a series of calls for him to find out that his son was now in the notorious Mariona prison on the outskirts of the capital, San Salvador.

Mariona has become known in El Salvador as one of the few maximum-security prisons that has been effectively turned into an impenetrable fortress, rife with allegations of abuse, torture, and death. Overcrowding has hit nearly 250 percent . Outside, hundreds of family members wait in line daily to purchase price-spiked basic goods — shorts, sandals, soap, and shampoo as well as food — for their loved ones inside. Neither family nor the media can visit prisoners. Even attorneys rarely see their clients inside. Communication across prison walls has been shut down.

“Not even lawyers have access to the prisons now. The only people who can get in are government-approved TikTokers or media outlets aligned with the administration.”

Since the Bukele administration instituted the state of exception in March, nearly 1 percent of El Salvador’s entire population — overwhelmingly men between the ages of 18 and 30 — have been rounded up and crammed in these prisons. A series of hastily passed laws have suspended basic constitutional rights and protections, including the right of association, the right to be informed of the reason for an arrest, and the right to an attorney. The government monitors phone calls and intercepts mail, and someone placed under arrest can be held for up to 15 days without charges. When charges are brought, usually for belonging to or associating with a gang, defendants appear before a judge en masse, as many as 500 people at once, and little or no evidence is presented.

The information firewall erected around the prisons is compounded by another recent law that effectively places a gag order on media. Passed in early April by the Bukele-dominated legislature, the law criminalizes journalists or media organizations that “reproduce and transmit messages from or presumably from gangs that could generate uneasiness or panic in the population.” Punishment can result in up to 15 years in prison.

The flurry of new laws also strip judges of the power not to imprison alleged gang members, even in cases of people with chronic medical conditions that can’t be treated in prison or people who have long left gang life. As Ruth López, head of an anti-corruption and justice initiative at Cristosal, a Salvadoran human rights organization, told The Intercept, the laws “violate the presumption of innocence, violate the ability for ex-gang members to reinsert themselves into society.”

“Not even lawyers have access to the prisons now,” López said. “The only people who can get in are government-approved TikTokers or media outlets aligned with the administration.”

Cristosal has documented nearly 3,000 complaints of violations registered by family members, most of them for arbitrary arrests. A late May report from Cristosal confirmed “signs of extralegal executions, as well as the perpetration of torture, cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment, as well as other grave abuses.” López said that some of the few people released from prisons — mostly minors — have shown signs of being beaten, starved, and medically neglected. Some have shown signs of torture.

The U.S. has been mostly silent in response to the unprecedented crackdown. The temporary chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador, Patrick Ventrell, praised the actions the Salvadoran government was taking in a press conference in late June, noting that everyday Salvadorans feel a renewed sense of security in the streets. Ventrell did note the “high cost” of that security, mentioning the “numerous accusations of human rights abuses, arbitrary arrests, and also deaths.” He said, “The state of exception is unsustainable.”

The U.S.’s failure to strongly condemn the excesses of the crackdown owes to its effectiveness, said Tiziano Breda, a Central American analyst at Crisis Group, explaining that the gangs have retreated, at least temporarily, and the homicide rate has plummeted. “The fact that gangs are being affected is playing a role in the U.S. not taking a stronger stance,” Breda said.

Washington’s priorities for El Salvador — “curbing migration and drug trafficking” — remain unchanged, said Breda, leading to two competing messages from the U.S. “On the one hand, Bukele is being scolded by the State Department for the erosion of democratic checks and balances and the concentration of power,” he said. “On the other hand, whenever there is a drug seizure or a human trafficking ring dismantled, there is a round of applause from the Department of Homeland Security.”

How long the experiment with mass incarceration, the presumption of guilt, and the gutting of due process can last remains to be seen. Bukele is positioning himself for reelection in 2024 — despite a constitutional bar on serving more than one term — and he seems to be betting on perceived feelings of security maintaining his high approval rating.

Last week, the young president extended El Salvador’s state of exception for yet another month.

“Punishing the Whole Family”

Until his arrest, Cruz-Zavala’s bucolic life attracted little attention in El Salvador. He worked on his family farm, helped raise cattle, and harvested small plots of corn and other vegetables. He played soccer and went to church on Sundays but otherwise stayed at home.

“They know it, they know he didn’t do anything bad, nothing,” his father said. “The police never even stopped him for a ticket, never stopped to even talk to him. The only charge are the letters. The Bukele regime is looking for anyone with letters or anyone with any tattoo — they say you’re a terrorist.”

His father was careful about what he would share with The Intercept, worried that police were listening in on the calls or that he would be “put on a list.” Cruz-Zavala’s brother, who lives with the family in El Salvador, similarly declined to comment for this story due to fear of retaliation from the police.

“It’s frustrating, painful not to know anything about him,” his father said. “We can’t send letters, make calls, see him.”

When Cruz-Zavala was transferred from Mariona to Izalco , a prison about an hour from San Salvador, the family had no word on his whereabouts for weeks. “Nothing,” his father said, besides the few reports that come from investigative outlets and human rights organizations. “The government is being so cruel. They’re not just punishing the people they’re accusing. They’re punishing the whole family.”

“People are dying; we don’t even know how many,” he added. “So much anguish. Any day they might call and tell us he’s dead. The government locks them away for so long and doesn’t let you see them. We’re all suffering because of this.”

“It’s almost like he was dead.”

The post After Being Deported by U.S., Walter Cruz-Zavala Disappeared in Notorious Salvadoran Crackdown appeared first on The Intercept .

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    Z-Library : le site spécialisé dans les livres piratés se fait bloquer en France

    news.movim.eu / Numerama · 7 days ago - 17:49

Z Library

Le jugement était attendu : la justice française a validé la demande de blocage du site Z-Library, spécialisé dans les livres piratés. Les FAI doivent bloquer l'accès au site. [Lire la suite]

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    “I Can’t Believe He Did That”: Retired Kansas City Detective Charged With Kidnapping and Rape

    news.movim.eu / TheIntercept · Saturday, 17 September - 11:00 · 8 minutes

Ophelia Williams’s nightmare began on August 8, 1999. It was sometime before 7 a.m. and Williams and her children were asleep in their home in Kansas City, Kansas, when she was awoken by a loud banging on the front door. Williams put a housecoat over her nightgown and went to answer it. Outside was a gaggle of police officers with a search warrant. She let them in.

They were there, she learned, to arrest her twin sons, then 14, who were accused of murder in connection with a robbery gone wrong. As the officers fanned out for the search, a detective named Roger Golubski stood with Williams in her living room. Her 12-year-old daughter was by her side. He introduced himself and looked her up and down, she later testified in a deposition. She was uncomfortable and asked if she could change into some clothes. No, Golubski told her. She moved to the couch and sat down, crossing her legs, “and he said, you got pretty legs,” she recalled. She was worried about her sons, and here was Golubski, commenting on her appearance. “I didn’t like that at all,” she testified. “I thought it was inappropriate.”

“He was the police. What was I going to say?”

Williams cried as the cops left, taking her sons to jail. “I was devastated,” she said.

A few days later, Golubski was back, knocking on her door. Though her sons would eventually be sent to prison, Golubski said he could help with their case, Williams remembered. “He said he knew the DA.” As they sat on the couch, he moved in close and put his hand on her leg; she swatted him away and stood up. Golubski then shoved her back down, she said, held her hands above her head and raped her. Before leaving, he told her, “I will see you later,” Williams recalled.

“I can’t believe he did that,” she testified. “He is supposed to be a police officer.”

Over the following months, Golubski returned again and again, including while on duty, to assault Williams. She was afraid to resist or report him. He said he could have somebody “do something to me and that they would never find me,” she recalled. “He was the police. What was I going to say; this policeman just raped me?”

More than two decades later, on September 15, Williams cried again after learning that Golubski had been arrested by the FBI at his home just west of Kansas City. He was charged with six counts of federal civil rights violations over the course of four years, including the aggravated sexual abuse and kidnapping of Williams and another woman, identified in court records as S.K., while “under color of law.” The charges, if proven, could net Golubski, now 69, up to life in prison. During arraignment in federal court in Topeka, Golubski pleaded not guilty.

The charges come after years of legal battles and mounting pressure from advocates, activists , and journalists — including from the Kansas City Star , where reporter Luke Nozicka has been leading the charge along with former columnist Melinda Henneberger , who won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for her coverage of Golubski’s alleged crimes. Accusations of egregious wrongdoing had followed Golubski throughout his 35-year career with the police department. But it was only after the 2017 exoneration of Lamonte McIntyre , who spent 23 years in prison for a double homicide he did not commit, that Golubski’s actions came under real public scrutiny.

In the Wake of Exoneration

In 1994, Doniel Quinn and Donald Ewing were shot multiple times at close range as they sat in a parked Cadillac on a residential street in Kansas City, a contract slaying connected to the theft of drugs from a stash house. There were plenty of leads that could have helped detectives solve the crime, including an eyewitness who said she knew the killer. The police never interviewed her.

Instead, they focused on 17-year-old McIntyre, who was with relatives that afternoon more than a mile from the crime scene. No evidence ever linked him to the crime, but McIntyre was tried and convicted based on two witness identifications that had been coerced by police. Instead of vetting the sloppy investigation, the prosecutor on the case threatened a witness who tried to recant, failed to tell the defense about the recantation, and then ushered the perjured testimony into evidence.

McIntyre maintained his innocence, and for years a team of lawyers, led by local attorney Cheryl Pilate and the Midwest Innocence Project , doggedly investigated the case. They ultimately determined that the murders had been committed by a foot soldier for a major drug dealer. In the process, they uncovered the reason McIntyre became a suspect in the first place: He was framed by Golubski.

Serious accusations of Golubski dealing drugs; framing suspects to protect drug dealers; and stalking, harassing, and raping Black women emerged during a federal civil suit the McIntyre family filed against Golubski; other members of the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department; and the county government after Lamonte’s release from prison. Among the women Golubski was accused of harassing was Rose McIntyre, Lamonte’s mother.

According to the lawsuit, Golubski assaulted Rose at a Kansas City police station back in the late 1980s. When she repeatedly rebuffed his subsequent advances, Golubski, aided by his colleagues, retaliated by framing her son for murder. “Rose repeatedly rejected Golubski’s advances, but his harassment did not stop. She was forced to move to a new home and change her phone number to avoid him,” lawsuit reads. “By moving, Rose thought that she had permanently escaped Golubski and prevented him from ever harming her or her family again. She was wrong. Several years later, Golubski orchestrated the wrongful conviction of her son Lamonte.”

It was through the McIntyre family’s suit that the accounts of Williams and S.K. also surfaced. Their depositions were taken as part of the case. S.K.’s allegations underpin three other criminal charges Golubski currently faces.

“If I wanted to save myself, meet with him and it won’t be on the record.”

S.K. was a 13-year-old middle school student in 1997 when she got a call from Golubski, she testified. He said he needed to talk to her about an incident he was investigating, to determine if she was a witness or suspect. But he didn’t want to meet her at the police station, she recalled — if they met there, he told her, their interaction would be recorded, and he would “most likely” have to arrest her. “So if I wanted to save myself, meet with him and it won’t be on the record, that way I won’t be in any trouble if something was to come out.”

She didn’t know what he was talking about or how he’d gotten her phone number. But she was scared; she agreed to meet him in a Walmart parking lot, where she got into the passenger seat of his car. He began asking her questions about her background, who she hung around with, who she cherished most. Her grandmother, she told him. Then he asked her about sexual abuse she’d suffered in foster care. He placed his hand on her leg, as if to console her, she recalled. He told her he was there to protect her. Then he sexually assaulted her — the first of numerous instances of abuse that would span nearly four years. He intimated that he knew who her grandmother was, describing the uniform she’d worn to work that morning. Over the years, he repeatedly warned S.K. that if she ever told anyone about the abuse, something bad would happen.

A Disturbing Pattern

The allegations against Golubski reveal a dark and disturbing pattern of abuse. The total number of victims is unclear; the Star has reported that there may be more than 70. At least six Black women who were murdered between 1996 and 2004 had a connection to Golubski. Five of those murders remain unsolved.

“Five had been blackmailed, bribed or otherwise coerced into sexual relationships with him, according to their friends and relatives. The sixth had only been seen around with him,” Henneberger wrote for the Star. In some of the cases, Golubski was the detective assigned to investigate. “Think about that: Wouldn’t any other man who’d been having sex with a series of murder victims be a suspect in their killings? Or at a minimum, someone the cops would want to talk to? That he was also the investigator in some of these cases is wrong on its face.”

Despite the mounting allegations against Golubski — some of which date back to the 1980s — it wasn’t until 2019 that the Kansas Bureau of Investigation began to look into the claims. The office found no violations of state law within the statute of limitations but passed the case to the FBI. In October 2021, news broke that federal prosecutors in Kansas had tapped a grand jury to investigate, and the KCKPD said it had been responding to FBI subpoenas since 2019.

“Wouldn’t any other man who’d been having sex with a series of murder victims be a suspect in their killings?”

Meanwhile, when asked about the sweeping allegations against him during a deposition in the McIntyre case, Golubski invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination 555 times . In June, the Wyandotte County government agreed to settle McIntyre’s case for $12.5 million.

For its part, the KCKPD said this week that it would “continue to cooperate and offer any assistance needed by the FBI as this case moves forward.” Former KCKPD Chief Terry Ziegler told the Star that Golubski’s arrest was “hard to believe and leaves me more questions than answers.” Ziegler was once Golubski’s partner, and according to Williams, was outside in a car on at least one occasion when Golubski came to her home to assault her.

In a statement, the Midwest Innocence Project commended the Department of Justice and the FBI “for their work to begin the process of accountability.” But the organization noted that the sprawling allegations, spanning decades, required more: “A full investigation into the abuses in Wyandotte County and systemic reforms are needed to ensure that no other police officers and public officials can continue to abuse their power.”

The post “I Can’t Believe He Did That”: Retired Kansas City Detective Charged With Kidnapping and Rape appeared first on The Intercept .

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    Detroit Cops Want $7 Million in Covid Relief Money for Surveillance Microphones

    news.movim.eu / TheIntercept · Saturday, 17 September - 10:00 · 9 minutes

Detroit’s city council will soon vote on whether to spend millions in federal cash meant to ease the economic pains of the coronavirus pandemic on ShotSpotter, a controversial surveillance technology critics say is invasive, discriminatory, and fundamentally broken.

ShotSpotter purports to do one thing very well: telling cops a gun has been fired as soon as the trigger is pulled. Using a network of microphones hitched to telephone poles, rooftops, and other urban vantage points, ShotSpotter is essentially an Alexa that listens for a bang rather than voice commands. Once the company’s black-box algorithm thinks it has identified a gunshot, it sends a recording of the sound — and the moments preceding and following it — to a team of human analysts. If these ShotSpotter staffers agree the loud noise in question is a gunshot, they relay an alert and location coordinates to police for investigation.

At least, that’s the pitch. Despite ShotSpotter’s corporate claims of 97 percent accuracy, the technology’s efficacy has been derided as dangerously ineffective — a techno-solutionist approach to public safety. Critics contend that the system draws police scrutiny to already over-policed areas using a proprietary, secret sound detection algorithm. The technology, according to reports , regularly mistakes city noises , including fireworks and cars for gunshots, ignores actual gunshots, provides misleading evidence to prosecutors, and is subject to biases because ShotSpotter employees at times manually alter the algorithm’s findings.

Detroit already has a $1.5 million contract with ShotSpotter, a California company, to deploy the microphones in select areas, but city officials, including Mayor Mike Duggan, insist that substantially expanding the audio surveillance network will deter gun slayings. The plan is set to go to a vote before the full city council on September 20, and local organizers are opposing the use of money meant for economic relief to expand city security contracts and beef up police surveillance.

“The Biden administration passed the American Rescue Plan and put forth this Covid relief money to inject money into local economies and to get people back on their feet after the pandemic,” said Branden Snyder, co-director of Detroit Action, a community advocacy group that opposes the vote. “And this is doing the opposite of that. What it does is fatten the wallets of ShotSpotter.”

Cities across the country are tapping federal recovery money to add or broaden ShotSpotter systems, NBC News reported earlier this year. Syracuse, New York, for instance, spent $171,000 on ShotSpotter, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, paid the company $3 million from the recovery fund. Should the vote pass, Detroit would be the biggest of these customers using Covid relief funds, both in terms of population and the proposed price tag for the surveillance expansion.

ShotSpotter spokesperson Izzy Olive pointed to remarks by President Joe Biden encouraging local governments to use flexible relief funds to beef up police departments. “Some cities have chosen to use a portion of these funds for ShotSpotter’s technology,” she said. The company claims that more than 125 cities and police departments use the system and that it guarantees 90 percent efficacy within some basic parameters, according to self-reported data from police compiled by the company. Asked about Detroit’s system, Olive said the city owns the data collected by ShotSpotter. She did not comment on whether the company restricts what cities can say about it, saying only that “the contract itself is not confidential.”

ShotSpotter’s opponents in Detroit agreed that gun violence is a serious problem but said Covid-19 relief money would be far better spent on addressing the social ills that form the basis of crime.

“What it does is fatten the wallets of ShotSpotter.”

“If people had jobs, money, after-school programs, housing, the things that they need, that’s going to reduce gun violence,” said Alyx Goodwin, a campaign organizer with Action Center on Race and the Economy.

Snyder pointed to the fundamental irony of diverting public money billed as form of relief for the pandemic’s downtrodden to surveil those very same people.

“The reason why we’re in these policing fights, as an economic justice organization, is that our members are folks who are looking for housing, rental support, looking for job access,” Snyder said. “And what we’re given instead is surveillance technology.”

Duggan’s case for expanding the ShotSpotter contract kicked into high gear in late August when, following a mass shooting, he claimed that police could have thwarted the killings had a broader surveillance net been in place. “They very likely could have prevented two and probably three tragedies had they had an immediate notice,” Duggan said.

The mayor’s claims echo those of the company itself, which positions the product as an antidote to rising national gun violence rates, particularly since the onset of the pandemic. ShotSpotter explicitly urges cities to tap funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, intended to salve financial hardship caused by the pandemic, to buy new surveillance microphones.

“As the U.S. recovers from COVID-19, gun crime is surging to historically high levels,” reads a company post titled “The American Rescue Act Can Help Your Agency Fund Crime Reducing Technology.” The post refers interested municipalities to a company portal that lists resources to help navigate the procurement process, adorned with an image of a giant pile of cash, including a “FREE funding consultation with an expert who knows the process.”

ShotSpotter even published a video webinar guiding police through the process of obtaining Covid money to buy the surveillance tech. In the video, the company’s Director of Public Safety Solutions Ron Teachman offers to personally connect interested parties with ShotSpotter’s go-to expert on federal funding, consultant and former congressional aide Amanda Wood.

Teachman and Wood say in the video that ShotSpotter will furnish eager police with pre-drafted language to help pitch relevant elected officials. “I know you all understand the value of ShotSpotter and that’s why you’re here, but if there are other folks in your community who don’t understand it, we’re happy to sort of spoon-feed them that information,” Wood says. “We have broad language, and we can really personalize it for whatever you need.” (Olive, the ShotSpotter spokesperson, said the company was sharing publicly available information and did not comment on what efforts the company made to guide Detroit through the process of applying for funds.)

Wood also suggests that police enlist local groups, from grassroots organizations to medical administrators, to help with the pitch. “Those hospital CEOs are pretty well connected. So let’s use them, let’s leverage their relationships so that they’re echoing the same sort of messaging that you are … put a little pressure on those electeds and administrators.”

Overall, the use of federal Covid money to buy microphones is described as a cakewalk. In the webinar, Teachman says, “This is as easy a federal funding source as I’ve seen.”

Despite the objections from community groups, Biden himself outlined uses like this for Covid relief funds. “Mayors will also be able to buy crime-fighting technologies, like gunshot detection systems,” Biden said in a June 2021 address on gun violence.

Billions in Covid aid have been spent on funding police departments, a flood of money that’s proven a boon to surveillance contractors, said Matthew Guariglia, a policy analyst with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “For a long time already, money that has been intended for public well-being has been specifically funneled into police departments,” said Guariglia, “and specifically for surveillance equipment that maybe they didn’t have the money to fund beforehand.”

ShotSpotter equipment overlooks the intersection of South Stony Island Avenue and East 63rd Street in Chicago on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021. An Associated Press investigation, based on a review of thousands of internal documents, emails, presentations and confidential contracts, along with interviews with dozens of public defenders in communities where ShotSpotter has been deployed, has identified a number of serious flaws in using ShotSpotter as evidentiary support for prosecutions. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

ShotSpotter equipment overlooks the intersection of South Stony Island Avenue and East 63rd Street in Chicago, on Aug. 10, 2021.

Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP


Detroit’s city government isn’t shying away from the notion that millions in economic stimulus money might go to ShotSpotter. The public safety section of a city website outlining how Detroit plans to use hundreds of millions in federal Covid aid mentions ShotSpotter by name, including a city-produced infomercial touting the technology’s benefits. While the clip, echoing the company’s own claims , assures Detroit residents that ShotSpotter doesn’t listen to conversations, there have been at least two documented instances of prosecutors attempting to use ambient chatter caught on ShotSpotter’s hot mics.

Critics of Detroit’s plan said ShotSpotter doesn’t stop gun violence and exacerbates over-policing of the same struggling neighborhoods the Covid relief money was meant to help. A study published last year by Northwestern University’s MacArthur Justice Center surveyed 21 months of city data on ShotSpotter-based police deployments and “found that 89% turned up no gun-related crime and 86% led to no report of any crime at all. In less than two years, there were more than 40,000 dead-end ShotSpotter deployments.”

City government data from Chicago and other locations using ShotSpotter revealed the same pattern over and over, according to the MacArthur Justice Center. In Atlanta, only 3 percent of ShotSpotter alerts resulted in police finding shell casings. In Dayton, Ohio, another ShotSpotter customer, “only 5% of ShotSpotter alerts led police to report incidents of any crime.” A series of academic studies into ShotSpotter’s efficacy reached the same conclusion: Loud noise alerts don’t result in fewer gun killings.

“People don’t want gunshots in their neighborhood, period. And a microphone does not stop the gunshot.”

Not only is ShotSpotter a waste of money, critics say, but the system menaces the very neighborhoods it claims to protect by directing armed, keyed-up police onto city blocks with the expectation of a violent confrontation. These heightened police responses occur along stark racial lines. “In Chicago, ShotSpotter is only deployed in the police districts with the highest proportion of Black and Latinx residents,” the MacArthur Justice Center found, pointing to a Chicago inspector general’s report that found ShotSpotter alerts resulted in more than 2,400 stop-and-frisks. A 2021 investigation by Motherboard found that “ShotSpotter frequently generates false alerts—and it’s deployed almost exclusively in non-white neighborhoods.”

The concern is not hypothetical: A March 2021 ShotSpotter-triggered Chicago deployment resulted in the fatal police shooting of an unarmed 13-year-old boy, Adam Toledo . “If you have police showing up to the site of every loud noise, guns drawn, expecting a firefight, that puts a lot of pedestrians, a lot of people who lives in neighborhoods where there are loud noises, in danger,” Guariglia said.

ShotSpotter’s claims of turn-key functionality and deterrent effect are tempting for mayors like Detroit’s Duggan, according to Snyder of Detroit Action. The politicians are eager to project a “tough on crime” image as gun violence has spiked during the pandemic. Yet Snyder said that ShotSpotter’s limited trial in Detroit has so far proven ineffective. “It actually hasn’t led to any sort of like real, significant arrests,” he said. “It actually hasn’t produced that type of success that I think many elected officials as well as the company itself are spouting.”

An infographic created by the city claims that “ShotSpotter is saving lives!” and cites a downward trend in fatal shootings in neighborhoods where the equipment is installed. The infographic, though, provides no evidence that the technology itself was responsible for this decline and provides only one example of a ShotSpotter alert leading to a gun-related conviction in the city.

“ShotSpotter doesn’t stop gunshots from happening,” said Goodwin of the Action Center on Race and the Economy. “People don’t want gunshots in their neighborhood, period. And a microphone does not stop the gunshot.”

The post Detroit Cops Want $7 Million in Covid Relief Money for Surveillance Microphones appeared first on The Intercept .