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Author Topic: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort  (Read 3156 times)

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Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #25 on: January 29, 2013, 11:35:33 PM »
True.. but unfortunately they aren't going away.

I wish that someone less radical would step forward to speak about these issues. Prosecutors do have too much power. They are hammering folks with MASSIVE sentences and dring folks like Swartz to suicide because it lets them to move forward politically.

My brother met Mike Nifong after the Duke Lacrosse team scandal started. He came home and told my mom that he thought the guy was pushing things to make points in the area politically. Later he was there when the Bar association yanked his law license and he said that as a former Assistant DA he hoped it sent a message to others.

I hope in the end the Prosecutor that hounded Swartz gets his/her license pulled as well. It is unbelievable that he was threatened with DECADES for was a fraud count rather than a massive criminal offense.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #26 on: January 30, 2013, 08:32:40 AM »
I'm not from the US, so I might be wrong here.  But is it not judges who decide sentences not prosecutors?  What I mean is that surely Bob the Prosecutor can threaten anything he likes, he still has to prove it before a judge and jury and then the actual punishment isn't up to him anyway.  Basically, aren't prosecutor threats kinda empty posturing?

Not to say they can't be intimidating, sure, particularly perhaps to someone with issues with depression.  But, ultimately, aren't they just blowing hot air?

As I say, not from the US so may have misunderstood the situation there.  It was a real quesiton not, I promise, any attempt to make an argument either way on the topic.

Online Oniya

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Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #27 on: January 30, 2013, 09:18:36 AM »
By choosing what charges to prosecute, a prosecutor can have some influence over what sentences are on the table.  Assault carries one range of sentences, but attempted homicide carries another.  Manslaughter has a lower range than first degree murder.  Another technique is to 'over charge', also known as 'throw it at the wall and see what sticks', where the prosecutor comes up with every conceivable worst-case charge and argues it, sometimes even insinuating that the charges might be served consecutively.  (For example, the prosecutor might say 'We have you on Charge A, which is 5 years, and with this, we have you on Charge B, which is 3 years.  That's 8 years you're looking at, buddy!')

In the end, however, the jury decides what charges were proven, the judge bases the sentence on that, and charges are frequently served concurrently (i.e., with a 5 year sentence for Charge A and a 3 year sentence for Charge B, the convicted serves out the 3 years of B, and then has only 2 years left to serve for the remainder of A, instead of 5+3=8 years if they were consecutive.)

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #28 on: January 30, 2013, 10:52:20 AM »
Not to mention they can play fast and loose with a LOT of things they disclose. Got a witness whose statements don't match your theory of the crime? Don't disclose her. Don't have a match for the DNA found at the scene. Simply leave it out of what you're bringing to the table (That was one of the things Nifong did to the Lacross team players.. and is part of what got him disbarred)


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Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #29 on: January 30, 2013, 11:24:20 AM »
I was trying to stick to the things that weren't ethics violations.  ;)

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #30 on: January 30, 2013, 12:08:48 PM »
I was trying to stick to the things that weren't ethics violations.  ;)


I would say that these were procedural points, except for specifically Nifong's lying about discussing the evidence. Once he committed perjury, that became a whole different bag of (ethical) worms. He hadn't done anything ethically wrong up to the point about the DNA evidence till he lied under oath to the Judge about it.

Now his statements to the public via various media outlets were ethically iffy at best from day one.

The problem is.. a LOT of evidence that the prosecution has.. doesn't get shown unless the prosecutor plays fair or is compelled by the defense to do so.

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Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #31 on: January 30, 2013, 12:14:18 PM »
Withholding evidence that points to the innocence of the defendant is - I want to say it's a 'Brady violation'?  Something like that.  I know that my favorite legal sources were all over Nifong for withholding.

Edit:  Score a point for the StoreHouse!  It comes from the Supreme Court case Brady v. MD
« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 12:15:53 PM by Oniya »

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #32 on: January 30, 2013, 12:17:39 PM »
Withholding evidence that points to the innocence of the defendant is - I want to say it's a 'Brady violation'?  Something like that.  I know that my favorite legal sources were all over Nifong for withholding.

Edit:  Score a point for the StoreHouse!  It comes from the Supreme Court case Brady v. MD

My brother said something like it was 'iffy' on procedural grounds..and he was 'toast' in ethical waters right off the bat.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #33 on: January 30, 2013, 12:20:58 PM »
The thing is that ethics is huge in the justice system right now. I feel it most keenly because of things like the Massachusetts chemist who did stupid stuff at her lab, but I know that ethics violations have been on peoples' minds lately in other parts of the area. It means that people are more likely to take a look at that.

For instance, right now many lab personnel are also bonded officers of the court at my state department of forensic sciences, in part because it's a pay bump. There is a push - from the inside, not from some dolt making videos and rattling sabers - to separate law enforcement labs from the police force because there have been several ethics violations that stemmed from the lab personnel feeling like they were 'part of the law enforcement team' and that they needed to get the 'right' answers for law enforcement. Forensic labs shouldn't be buddy-buddy with pretty much anyone else in the justice system because we're supposed to be impartial. They train us to be essentially an extension of the evidence. We're not character witnesses or anything of the sort - we're supposed to give numbers and observations, and let the lawyers argue about what those things might mean in the context of the case.

Currently many forensics labs receive things like details of the case and other information that is more than just the context of where the evidence being submitted was found. There is also a giant push for that to stop - and the push is, once again, internal rather than things like this video.

In essence, yeah, some of us still believe very strongly in the values that are supposed to be espoused by the justice system, but it's not like we sit back and let people trample over them. I'm not going to just sit by at my lab bench if I notice someone next to me compromising chain of custody, or taking off their own shoe and swabbing it, then adding that to evidence. (Or something, that's mainly a goofy example off the top of my head.) I'm going to go to my super and let them know - and if that evidence goes to trial, you bet your ass that I - or any other responsible lab worker - am going to be contacting counsel for the defense. To some people, that is seen as crossing the thin blue line. But as far as responsible individuals are concerned, it's as much a part of our job as testifying for the prosecution.

The forensics community is very sensitive about ethics violations, and I think it wouldn't be a terrible thing if other aspects of the justice system picked up that attitude, because one of the best ways to change peoples' behavior is to make them ashamed of it in front of their colleagues and peers.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #34 on: January 30, 2013, 04:45:00 PM »
Reform almost always comes from within - from the blood, sweat, and tears of people who are working inside the system every day.

This is naive, I think. Apartheid would still be intact if the ANC and umKhonto we Sizwe had placidly waited for the Boers to "reform from within." Likewise the British Raj in India if Gandhi had followed that tack, or segregation in the States if America's civil rights movement had waited around for the KKK to "reform itself from within."

Systems are designed to co-opt people to their way of thinking, and are very efficient at it. "Reform from within" very rarely works on its own, just like "self-policing" by any system very rarely works, for this reason; real reform usually comes from direct action by outside forces that cannot be ignored or avoided. Once you're embedded in a system, the interests of its higher-ups become your interests unless you'd like to become disembedded again right quick. Reform-minded people can persist within the cracks of a system, and can aid reform or gentle that system's worst tendencies in quietist ways, but outside forces are usually needed to call attention to its excesses and to confront it, and it's from that that real impetus for reform comes.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #35 on: January 30, 2013, 04:50:57 PM »
I wish that someone less radical would step forward to speak about these issues. Prosecutors do have too much power. They are hammering folks with MASSIVE sentences and dring folks like Swartz to suicide because it lets them to move forward politically.

Less radical people speak about them all the time. Trouble is, less radical people are easy to ignore, as they rarely go beyond speaking.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #36 on: January 30, 2013, 05:20:30 PM »
This is naive, I think. Apartheid would still be intact if the ANC and umKhonto we Sizwe had placidly waited for the Boers to "reform from within." Likewise the British Raj in India if Gandhi had followed that tack, or segregation in the States if America's civil rights movement had waited around for the KKK to "reform itself from within."

Systems are designed to co-opt people to their way of thinking, and are very efficient at it. "Reform from within" very rarely works on its own, just like "self-policing" by any system very rarely works, for this reason; real reform usually comes from direct action by outside forces that cannot be ignored or avoided. Once you're embedded in a system, the interests of its higher-ups become your interests unless you'd like to become disembedded again right quick. Reform-minded people can persist within the cracks of a system, and can aid reform or gentle that system's worst tendencies in quietist ways, but outside forces are usually needed to call attention to its excesses and to confront it, and it's from that that real impetus for reform comes.

I think you're confusing 'reform' with 'revolution' here. They are two very different things, and revolution was not what I was talking about. :)

Offline Kythia

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Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #37 on: January 30, 2013, 05:22:01 PM »
This is naive, I think. Apartheid would still be intact if the ANC and umKhonto we Sizwe had placidly waited for the Boers to "reform from within." Likewise the British Raj in India if Gandhi had followed that tack, or segregation in the States if America's civil rights movement had waited around for the KKK to "reform itself from within."

Gandhi was a leader in the Indian Congress, Civil Rights were passed by the US congress/government.  Don't know much about the ANC, so skipping that bit.  I'd argue that all of these were very very much within.  It's not like any external power stepped in - France (to pick a country at random) didn't force us to Quit India, Paraguay (ditto) didn't end segregation.  I think you're drawing your boundaries of within and without far too narrowly there, to be honest.

What Trieste is saying (I think - apologies if I've misread you Trieste) is that there are factions within the broader law enforcement community looking for reform just as there were factions within British India looking for reform and factions within the US looking for reform.  You seem to be focusing purely on the "wrong doing" group and ignoring the context in which they sit.  Anonymous, and others like them, are the equivalent of France and Paraguay in my examples - outside of the context.  Not the equivalent of the British Empire or the KKK - part of the system to be reformed.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #38 on: January 30, 2013, 05:26:19 PM »
What Trieste is saying (I think - apologies if I've misread you Trieste) is that there are factions within the broader law enforcement community looking for reform [...]

Pretty much. *nods* Thank you.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #39 on: January 30, 2013, 05:39:27 PM »
I think you're confusing 'reform' with 'revolution' here. They are two very different things, and revolution was not what I was talking about. :)

Actually, they're not, really. Revolution is just what happens when reform by all other means is blocked. None of the examples I've cited were "revolutions" strictly speaking; they're just all examples of reform that was prompted by direct confrontation of an establishment by the people outside it.

Quote from: Kythia
I'd argue that all of these were very very much within.

Well, they weren't, though. The Indian National Congress wasn't "within" the establishment of the British Raj; it was very much outside it, a purely theoretical government-in-exile until it beat the British Raj and forced it to go away. The ANC wasn't in any sense "within" the apartheid establishment; it demanded that establishment's dismantlement, and eventually succeeded. The civil rights movement for the most wasn't "within" the American political establishment of its day, with the exception of Thurgood Marshall*; it was very much outside of it and hated by it, or at the very least regarded as an annoyance. Nobody in Washington wanted to deal with the problems it was tackling until the movement itself successfully forced them to the front of the public agenda... all while being attacked as "radicals" and "revolutionaries" for doing so, incidentally, in terms very familiar to the epithets Anonymous attracts.

* Thurgood Marshall is a fair example of reform from within, and of the importance of the Supreme Court. He's also an example of its limitations; the entire reason he's more than a footnote in history is that there was a broad-based civil rights movement to push the agenda and lend weight to his arguments and work on the bench. Like I said, there can very well be well-intentioned persons or factions in an establishment. That simply does not mean that everybody else ought to be sitting back and waiting for "reform from within" to work. Societies and political (or judicial) establishments do not work that way.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 05:42:04 PM by Cyrano Johnson »

Offline Trieste

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Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #40 on: January 30, 2013, 06:01:17 PM »
Actually, they're not, really. Revolution is just what happens when reform by all other means is blocked. None of the examples I've cited were "revolutions" strictly speaking; they're just all examples of reform that was prompted by direct confrontation of an establishment by the people outside it.

Um, sure, we can agree to disagree on that.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #41 on: January 30, 2013, 06:02:13 PM »
I think calling the INC a "purely theoretical government" is an unsustainable stretch.  Even before the '35 Government of India act they were a potent political force.  After that they were the major local political force, equal to the Princes.  A "purely theoretical government" to me sounds like the TIbetan Government-in-exile - one with no say over its country.  Apologies if thats not the intent you meant to give those words, thats how I read them though.

And that's emphatically not the case for the INC.  They had power since '38 (IIRC) and Gandhi was a kingmaker there, to a great extent.  Bose wouldn't have got his first term without Gandhi's support.  He was part of the political establishment.  And the political establishment - even post the passing of the '35 act - was inextricably tied to Britain.  Britain retained primacy.  He was part of the British Raj as a major political figure who lived in British India.

Ditto - although as I say I know less about them - for the ANC.  I can't understand how you can claim that they weren't in the apartheid system.  They were almost entirely created by the apartheid system.  Being opposed to a system doesn't make you not part of it.  It's like, errrrr, it's like claiming that a political activist for Romney isn't part of the US political system just because the people he wants in power aren't and are doing things he dislikes.

EDIT:  Better yet - just noticed your location - its like claiming Quebecois seperatists aren't part of Canada's political landscape because they don't want to be part of it.

EDIT AGAIN:  But meh.  I seem to have somehow become involved in an argument I don't massively care about.  And that's forced me to neglect to say that I do admire your passion and willingness to talk through these issues, which is rude on my part and I apologise.  Not everyone takes an interest or stand in politics - I'm as guilty of it as anyone - and a side issue to the main topic is poor repayment for that.  I've said pretyt much everything I have to say and if I haven't convinced you then I doubt I'm capable of doing so.  I kinda suspect you're in roughly the same position?  If not then hit me with your best shot (fire away) and I'll certainly read it and let you know if you do convince me, but likely won't reply as I'd just be rephrasing stuff I've already said which has already not worked once.  Definition of madness and so on.

I think this is the first time we've talked?  If so, Hi - I'm Kythia.  Always nice to meet someone new (to me) on E.  If not I apologise for not remembering the last time.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 06:25:56 PM by Kythia »

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #42 on: January 30, 2013, 06:24:40 PM »
Kythia, I feel like you're playing at semantics a bit:

I think calling the INC a "purely theoretical government" is an unsustainable stretch.  Even before the '35 Government of India act they were a potent political force.  After that they were the major local political force, equal to the Princes.  A "purely theoretical government" to me sounds like the TIbetan Government-in-exile - one with no say over its country. 

Being a "potent political force" is not the same thing as being a government. Being a government means you have the power, by enforceable law, to govern things. The INC as a party did not have this in India until it defeated the British Raj to obtain independence and the power to govern as a part of independence, largely the achievement of Gandhi and Satyagraha. To say it was "part of the establishment" of the British Raj is basically just empty semantics. It held no meaningful power or leverage within the halls of the British Raj; its power derived from its appeal to the Indian masses who lived outside (but still subject to) that establishment.  (To say it became the establishment as the British Raj was leaving is correct but also looks suspiciously like an attempt to change the subject from what I was obviously talking about. It's just false to claim they got the Raj to the point of yielding to independence from "within the establishment.")

Quote
Ditto - although as I say I know less about them - for the ANC.  I can't understand how you can claim that they weren't in the apartheid system. 

Very easily: they literally weren't. The apartheid system hated and feared them, reviled them as Communists and "terrorists", imprisoned their leaders (a major part of the ANC leadership forged their ties and strategies as cellmates at Robben Island). The ANC for its part boycotted the neutered "reforms" attempted by the apartheid system vis. South African Parliament, and it never sat in Parliament while apartheid was in force. Mandela began negotiating for the transition from a cell. (This is "fighting from within" in the sense that yes, he was fighting from prison; but again, that's just meaningless, evasive semantics, just like the claim that the apartheid system "created" them. The apartheid system necessitated opposition, but that has nothing to do with that opposition being "within." Mandela and his confederates were not an accredited part of the Afrikaner political establishment ruling the country, which is what "within" would mean as Trieste is using it.)

You know who was meant to "reform apartheid from within," by the way? That was Mangosuthu Buthelezi, leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party, who started out his career as an ally of the ANC. He became a chief in the apartheid Bantustan system, and in the end it didn't work: Buthelezi eventually became such a creature of apartheid, so dependent on his chiefly benefits as conferred by it as the leader of a "Bantustan," that as apartheid began to collapse he was willing to connive at mass murder to forestall the inevitable. Inkatha Freedom Party assets were frequently seen being transported by police buses -- the activities of the so-called "Third Force" of dead-ender police and intelligence agency interests -- to attack ANC rallies in violence that wound up killing some forty thousand people before apartheid was finally defeated.

Something to think about when you hear the words "reform from within."
« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 06:28:36 PM by Cyrano Johnson »

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #43 on: January 30, 2013, 06:26:52 PM »
EDIT:  Better yet - just noticed your location - its like claiming Quebecois seperatists aren't part of Canada's political landscape because they don't want to be part of it.

More semantics. Separatists can be "part of the political landscape" without being part of the establishment. Those are different things.

(In point of fact, though, the PQ has effectively played out as a separatist movement, and its demise as such probably can be traced to its decision to participate in and thus legitimate federal politics.)

Offline Kythia

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Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #44 on: January 30, 2013, 06:27:08 PM »
Rats.  I was just editing my post as you wrote that and it didn't come up with a new post warning thingie.  I'm just posting this to point out my second edit on the above in case you didn't notice it - it not being there when you read it and all.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 06:28:19 PM by Kythia »

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #45 on: January 30, 2013, 06:29:47 PM »
Heh. It's nice meeting you, too! Thanks for the discussion. Even in disagreement, it's always a good thing to be forced to revisit the reasons for one's beliefs and see if they still hold up.

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Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #46 on: January 30, 2013, 06:30:36 PM »
More semantics. Separatists can be "part of the political landscape" without being part of the establishment. Those are different things.

... how is it that you can split that particular hair, but everyone else is playing semantics? There is a point at which dismissing something as 'semantics' because you're using a word interchangeably with another word which has a different definition becomes disingenuous. There is a point at which it stops being semantics and starts being, you know, vocabulary. I feel like you're accusing others of doing something while you're doing the same thing.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #47 on: January 30, 2013, 06:34:37 PM »
... how is it that you can split that particular hair, but everyone else is playing semantics?

On account of if those separatists actually aren't part of the establishment, it is hardly "splitting a hair." I think the rest of that comment, and my comments on the ANC and INC examples Kythia brought up, should make that pretty clear.

EDIT: Put it another way. If someone came up to you and told you that the Crips and Bloods are "part of America's judiciary," and you told them this was factually untrue, and they said, "well, they're part of the 'judicial landscape' and that's the same thing, how come you're 'splitting hairs'?" -- what would you tell that person?
« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 06:37:23 PM by Cyrano Johnson »

Offline Trieste

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Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #48 on: January 30, 2013, 06:39:43 PM »
Okay, so going back to what I was saying, you're essentially making these comparisons in support of the video in the original post? I'm trying to see the connection, here.

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Re: Anonymous: Operation Last Resort
« Reply #49 on: January 30, 2013, 06:42:21 PM »
I'm trying to see the connection, here.

The connection is that regardless of one's opinion of Anonymous in particular, your contention that "reform almost always happens from within" is just false.