Archive for the ‘ATF’ Category
The U.S.Commission on Civil Rights conducted a year-long investigation into the matter shortly after the dismissal. Despite being compelled by statute to cooperate fully with commission investigations, DOJ
refused to answer 18 separate interrogatories,
refused to respond to 22 separate requests for production of documents,
barred two key DOJ attorneys from testifying (both of the attorneys defied DOJ and testified at considerable risk to their careers),
refused to provide witness statements for twelve key witnesses,
invoked specious privileges in order to withhold critical information,
failed to provide a privilege log,
and failed to provide requested e-mails between Civil Rights Division personnel and other DOJ officials regarding the dismissal of the NBPP lawsuit (some of the e-mails later were revealed pursuant to court order in a lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch)
A high-ranking DOJ political appointee gave instructions that the Voting Section was not going to bring cases “against black defendants or for the benefit of white victims.”
A high-ranking DOJ political appointee explicitly told the entire Voting Section “that this administration would not be enforcing Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act.” (The purpose of section 8 of the NVRA is to ensure that persons ineligible to vote are not permitted to vote.)
DOJ refuses to enforce Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act on behalf of white victims.
There exists within DOJ pervasive hostility to the race-neutral enforcement of civil-rights laws.
The commission’s 262-page report to congress contains much more evidence that, under Holder, DOJ did not enforce the nation’s civil-rights laws in a color-blind manner. Something to consider while reading the next obtuse editorial extolling Mr. Holder’s record on civil rights.
The surprise resignation of Eric Holder, the first Attorney General ever to be held in contempt of Congress, exploded in the news today. Holder has been under unrelenting assault for the most egregious politicization and abuse of power in the Department of Justice in history—exceeding that of John Mitchell and Alberto Gonzalez. He has made the Department of Obstructing Justice notorious. Federal judges are stepping in to end his stone walling of Congressional and other investigations on several fronts, and now he’s on the run.
Why now? What is about to blow up?
This week in Washington federal district judge John D. Bates denied the Department’s motion for further delay and ordered DOJ to produce an index identifying each of the documents it had withheld in the lawsuit by Judicial Watch to obtain the Fast and Furious documents; identifying the statutory exemption claimed; and explaining how disclosure would damage the interests protected by the claimed exemption. The deadline looms just four weeks away on October 22nd.
Reality being far different from the President’s remarkable praise of his dear friend at today’s photo-friendly press conference, Mr. Holder lost all credibility with Congress upon his abominable handling of the Fast and Furious gun-running scheme with Mexican drug dealers, which caused untold numbers of deaths. He refused to produce documents demanded by federal legislators—prompting historic contempt charges.
The contempt of Congress case against Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. — the first sitting Cabinet member ever to face such a congressional rebuke — will continue even after his resignation takes effect, but it’s unlikely he will ever face personal punishment, legal analysts said Thursday.
Mr. Holder, is expected to announce his resignation later Thursday, and Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said the timing is not accidental: A federal judge earlier this week ruled that the Justice Department will have to begin submitting documents next month related to the botched Fast and Furious gun operation in a case brought by Judicial Watch.
“I don’t think it’s any coincidence he’s resigning as the courts are ruling the Fast and Furious information has to be released,” Mr. Fitton told The Washington Times.
Tear Gas Is A Banned Chemical Weapon, But US Lobbying Made It Okay For Domestic Use… And, Boy, Do We Use It
The Washington Post has a detailed look at how it’s being used in Ferguson, and how the police there seem to think it’s perfectly safe:
Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson has defended the use of tear gas. “There are complaints about the response from some people,” he said, “but to me, nobody got hurt seriously, and I’m happy about that.”
But another report highlights that the negative health effects of tear gas are severely underestimated by law enforcement groups who use it. In an interview with Vox.com, Sven-Eric Jordt, a scientist who studies tear gas, warns that law enforcement has become too complacent with this narrative that tear gas is a harmless way of dispersing crowds:
I frankly think that we don’t know much about the long-term effects, especially in civilian exposure with kids or elderly or people in the street who might have some kind of lung disease already. There’s very few follow-up studies. These are very active chemicals that can cause quite significant injury, so I’m concerned about the increased use of these agents.
I’m very concerned that, as use has increased, tear gas has been normalized. The attitude now is like, this is safe and we can use it as much as we want.
Even as it’s been banned for use in war. Something seems… very, very wrong with this situation.
A federal judge ordered President Obama’s team to hand over some documents pertaining to Operation Fast and Furious and to provide a list of withheld documents.
Once House Republicans see the list of withheld documents, they will have a chance to challenge the withholding of particular documents.
“This Administration has been so intent on hiding the contents of these documents that it allowed Attorney General Holder to be held in contempt instead of just turning them over to Congress,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) said of the ruling. “The privilege log will bring us closer to finding out why the Justice Department hid behind false denials in the wake of reckless conduct that contributed to the violent deaths of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and countless Mexican citizens.”
Holder was held in contempt in 2012 after he refused to produce 1,300 pages of documents subpoenaed by Issa’s committee. Obama said that the documents were shielded from congressional review by executive privilege.
“How can the president assert executive privilege if there was no White House involvement?” Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) said at the time. “How can the president exert executive privilege over documents he’s supposedly never seen? Is something very big being hidden to go to this extreme?”
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson “signaled that under the ruling she would devise, DOJ would have to persuade her on each document as to why she should allow Holder to withhold it from Congress” when she heard the case in May, according to Breitbart’s Ken Klukowski.
In response to a lawsuit filed by government watchdog Judicial Watch, a federal court rejected legal arguments by the Obama administration and ordered the Justice Department to release certain information about “Fast and Furious” documents it is withholding from Congress and the public. Analysts and lawmakers have long argued that Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, the latter of whom is still in criminal contempt of Congress, are trying to cover-up details in the deadly “Fast and Furious” scandal, which saw the Obama administration put thousands of weapons into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. The latest order could finally shed some light on what the executive branch is trying to hide.
Under the order, issued last month by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Department of Justice is required to produce a so-called “Vaughn index” of all documents and materials sought by Judicial Watch under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The non-profit organization asked for all documents on Fast and Furious being withheld from Congress by the administration under claims of “executive privilege.” While the actual materials will not be released, DOJ will have to provide a detailed listing of all documents it is withholding by October 1, along with information on why the material is not being made available to the public or congressional investigators.
The Justice Department fought hard to block Judicial Watch’s demands, seeking an indefinite delay until the House of Representative’s lawsuit against the administration for the same information was resolved by the courts. The administration has also been battling Congress in an effort to stonewall congressional investigations. In the end, though, the U.S. District Court for D.C. rejected the DOJ’s implausible claims that releasing the information in the Vaughn index would somehow upset “the delicate balance of powers” between Congress and the executive branch.
In fact, the judge noted that Congress and the executive branch, by passing FOIA in 1966, had intended to create the balance that now exists. “To the extent DOJ argues that the mere production of the Vaughn index — not involving the release of any documents in dispute — would alter the historical balance of powers between the branches, any unbalancing would result from FOIA itself, a law passed by Congress and signed into law by the President, and which this Court cannot ignore forever,” said the July 18 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge John Bates announced last week by Judicial Watch.
Technological innovation and circumventing gun control legislation leaves only one path toward control guns: ammunition control. The New York SAFE Act has already begun to move in that direction. By restricting ammunition sales, registering it, requiring a license, or raising prices, states might effectively enact gun control by controlling ammunition. After all, what good is a firearm without the bullets?
Restriction of ammunition supply is already happening. Ammunition prices have already spiked in recent years, as have gun sales, leading to dramatic shortages every gun owner notices when browsing at the store. Ammo stockpiling from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other agencies like the U.S. Post Office is not reducing the demand, either. The AFT has already moved in this direction by banning some surplus ammunition imports from Russia.
By definition, polymers, or even metal, cannot be 3D printed into gun powder. The components of gun powder are easily subject to regulations, and 3D printers don’t produce granulated powder. In other words, home production of ammunition would require workarounds and technological innovations which do not yet exist.
People should oppose gun control restrictions and registration requirements, but we shouldn’t let these turn our eyes from the existential threat of ammunition control. If ammunition printing ever becomes as cheap and effective as printing firearms parts currently is, then we can all rest assured that the right to keep and bear arms will never again be as infringed as it is today. Until that day comes, ammunition controls may be the most effective form of gun control.
Two federal judges have ruled that widely used sting operations designed to ensnare suspects with the promise of a huge payday for robbing an imaginary drug stash house are so “outrageous” that they are also unconstitutional. One judge said the charges were so unfair that he threw them out after three suspects already pleaded guilty.
Each of the men admitted to charges that would put them in prison for seven years or more. But instead of sending them there, U.S. District Court Judge Manuel Real declared that federal agents had “created the fictitious crime from whole cloth” and that their conduct was unconstitutional. Then he dismissed the charges and ordered that all three be set free.
Real’s unusual decision this month is the latest and most pointed indication yet of a growing backlash against undercover operations that have become a central part of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ efforts to target violent crime. Until now, federal courts have largely signed off on the practice, if not always enthusiastically. As the stings proliferate across the United States, an increasing number of judges are offering new resistance to the government’s tactics.