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Sunday, 19 July 2015

The DOJ is investing millions of dollars in research to spy on students at public schools nationwide

The Department of Justice's National Institute for Justice funds law enforcement research to the tune of tens of millions of dollars each year. The full list of grants, posted each year, is a valuable insight into future of law enforcement trends in the United States. NIJ funding for 2014 appears to have primarily focused on two issue areas: school safety and clearing DNA backlogs at police departments across the country.

Among the dozens of projects that focus on school safety, there are some that appear progressive, at least judging from the limited amount of information available online. But while a slice of the funding explicitly aims to examine and interrupt the school to prison pipeline using restorative justice methodologies, a lot of the money is going toward research that will probably further entrench disparate outcomes based on race in the criminalizing trend in school discipline.

One of those projects is a City of Chicago Board of Education program called "Connect and Redirect to Respect (CRR)," which aims "to use social media monitoring to identify and connect youth to behavioral interventions." In other words, the DOJ is giving $2.1 million dollars to the Chicago public schools to conduct research on how spying on student social media can impact school discipline. In New York, police spying on youth social media has resulted in the criminalization of speech.

Elsewhere, DOJ awarded nearly $2.5 million to the University of Virginia to study how "student threat assessment" is a "safe and supportive prevention strategy." DOJ gave the Miami-Dade public schools $4.2 million for research on a project called "Enhancing School Safety Through Digital Intelligence: Evaluating Campus Shield."

Among the projects DOJ funded that are not related to DNA testing or schools are the following:

  • Nearly $4 million to the private Rand Corporation to identify law enforcement technology needs;
  • $200,000 to Rand for something called the "Electronic Surveillance Continuation Project";
  • About $500,000 to Carnegie Melon University for research into something called an "Adaptive Expert System that Learns to Detect and Track Patterns of Crime in Internet Advertisements";
  • Follow-up funding, to reach a total of nearly $5 million, to FBI-connected private firm ManTech for "contactless finger print assessment";
  • $261,000 to Arkansas State University to study internet "radicalization";
  • About $4 million to war contractor Lockheed Martin "to operate a National Criminal Justice Technology Information Resource Center (NCJ-TIRC) within the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) System";
  • $330,000 to Boston's Children's Hospital for research on "Gang Affiliation and Radicalization to Violent Extremism within Somali-American Communities"; and
  • $500,000 to the Chicago Police Department's predictive policing program.

Read the full list of NIJ projects funded in 2014.

Living Near Fracking Sites Linked to Health Problems, Medical Hospitalizations

Scientists from the University of Colombia and the University of Pennsylvania have published a study in the journal PLOS ONE where they reported that living close to fracking sites could be injurious to one’s health and lead to serious hospitalizations.

Fracking Site in Warren Center, PA 07

Fracking Site in Warren Center, PA. Source: Fracking Lawyer (CC)

The researchers were prompted into conducting the research when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a 5-year report that fracking does not have any significant impact on drinking water anywhere. But then, the latest team’s research shows that unconventional gas and oil drilling has been linked with higher rates of hospitalizations with serious health consequences.

Fracking is also known as hydraulic drilling, and it is the practice whereby extractive industries pump chemicals into the ground in order to access oil, and it is a practice that has increased so much in the US over the past decade.

The researchers say living close to active oil wells has long-term health effects, and this is based on several data obtained from the Pennsylvania Healthcare Cost Containment Council which centered on 198,000 hospitalizations between 2007-2011.

According to the researchers, residents living close to fracking sites experience noise, get exposed to toxicants, and experience social inconvenience.

Reynold Panettieri, one of the study authors noted that “This study represents one of the most comprehensive to date to link health effects with hydraulic fracturing. Our findings provide important clues to design epidemiological studies to associate specific toxicant exposures with health end-points”.

The rate of hospitalization for cardiovascular events increased, and several others were treated for neurologic infections. And others suffer other related ailments that had to do with respiratory conditions…

Mastering The Human Domain| U.S. Army Special Operations Command Presentation: Concept for Cognitive Joint Force Entry

A presentation from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command dated November 4, 2014 that presents an “overview of the concept of Cognitive Joint Force Entry (CJFE)” which is used to “maximize relative combat power when we consider the physical, cognitive, and moral aspects within the HUMAN DOMAIN.”  









In November 2014, the Board of Directors of the American Psychological Association engaged our Firm to conduct an independent review of allegations that had been made regarding APA’s issuance of ethical guidelines in 2002 and 2005, and related actions. These ethical guidelines determined whether and under what circumstances psychologists who were APA members could ethically participate in national security interrogations. The gist of the allegations was that APA made these ethics policy decisions as a substantial result of influence from and close relationships with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and other government entities, which purportedly wanted permissive ethical guidelines so that their psychologists could continue to participate in harsh and abusive interrogation techniques being used by these agencies after the September 11 attacks on the United States. Critics pointed to alleged procedural irregularities and suspicious outcomes regarding APA’s ethics policy decisions and said they resulted from this improper coordination, collaboration, or collusion. Some said APA’s decisions were intentionally made to assist the government in engaging in these “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Some said they were intentionally made to help the government commit torture.