Story Archive

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“DHS I&A DSAC records illuminate aspects of federal public-private intelligence partnership: Wikileaks, Anonymous, Booz Allen Hamilton, career CIA officers at DHS domestic intelligence office:”

(November 18, 2013) DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy (DBA/CMD) release records obtained from the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis (DHS I&A) pertaining to the operations of the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC). These records were recently obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request originally filed with DHS I&A in August, 2012.

Among other things, these records disclose DHS I&A/DSAC private sector intelligence sharing concerning Wikileaks (a journalistic outfit) and ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous; Booz Allen Hamilton work on behalf of DHS I&A/DSAC; and aspects of private sector involvement (corporations such as Merck & Co.) in the workings of the U.S. intelligence community. This article also discusses the involvement of career CIA officers in DHS I&A/DSAC.

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“Inside the OpenMIND: open source social media data mining and predictive policing:”

(November 11, 2013) Records obtained by DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy (DBA/CMD) shed light on a technology, OpenMIND, utilized by law enforcement/counter-terrorism fusion center personnel in gathering and analyzing mass amounts of ‘open source intelligence’ derived from the online lives of Americans.

According to records obtained by DBA/CMD, this technology, employed by state/regional ‘homeland security’ ‘fusion centers,’ is able to access to password protected sites and is deliberately designed to hide both the presence of inquiring analysts, as well as their subjects of interest.

Furthermore, these technologies serve as vacuums that amass, store and collate vast amounts of data in order to monitor shifts in public opinion and predict the possible future actions of those being monitored.

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“America Eats its Young: Arizona communities embrace use of private prison employees in drug raids at public schools:”

(November 27, 2012.) Details the role of Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) employees in high school drug raids in Arizona’s Pinal County– a county in which the private prison industry is the economic cornerstone.

The article examines issues of legality relating to the use of private prison employees in law enforcement activities, as well as the clear conflict of interest posed by the involvement of  CCA– a corporation that has reaped billions of dollars in revenue from the incarceration of human beings– in law enforcement activities.

“America Eats its Young” also examines the role CCA has had over the past two decades (primarily through the American Legislative Exchange Council) in disseminating tough-on-crime and “drug-free school” laws. These laws are largely responsible for both the explosion in U.S. prison populations, as well as the current widespread use of drug raids in the nation’s schools.

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“AFSC investigation: Arizona Department of Corrections, Legislature, knew private prisons bad deal for state– eliminated oversight anyway:”

(July, 2012.) DBA Press is very pleased to publish an investigative article authored by American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Tucson Office Program Director Caroline Isaacs.

The article, detailing how the state of Arizona is fully aware that private prison vendors offer no cost/quality benefit to the state’s corrections system, is based on records Isaacs recently obtained from the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) though public records requests.

In addition to demonstrating ADC’s knowledge that for-profit prison vendors offer no cost savings to the state, Isaacs discusses how– in the face of this knowledge– Arizona lawmakers (several of whom have received substantial support from the private prison industry) repealed state law requiring private prison operators to provide services at a decent quality of service, or at a savings of cost, before new contracts could be awarded.

In essence, Isaacs paints a compelling picture of a state sacrificing public interest in return for political gains.

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“Quid pro Status Quo: ALEC and State-Sanctioned Corruption in Ohio:”

(May, 2012.) “Quid pro Status Quo” details the apparent use of Ohio’s American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) legislative “scholarship fund” as a vehicle for unreported lobbyist gifts to Ohio lawmakers.

The report consists of two parts. The first part, “Legislative Service With a Smile,” examines an instance where the fund appears to have been used in the facilitation of a “quid pro quo” arrangement between a lobbyist and members of the Ohio General Assembly.

The second part, “Lessons from a Baseball Game,” examines apparent widespread criminal violations of Ohio legislative gifting law, related to a Time Warner Cable-sponsored baseball game party held in conjunction with an ALEC conference in April, 2011.

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“Inside ALEC: naked contempt for the press and public in Scottsdale:”

(January, 2012.) Details the contrasting worlds of opulence and public unrest as ALEC member lawmakers caroused with lobbyists during the 2012 ALEC States and Nation Policy Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona. Constituents were pepper sprayed and arrested. Lawmakers– including Arizona Governor Jan Brewer– thumbed their noses. DBA Press founder, Beau Hodai, is evicted from the resort by Phoenix police officers moonlighting as ALEC security.

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“ALEC Accountability Act set for introduction in Arizona:”

(January, 2012.) Arizona Representative Steve Farley announces the introduction of the “ALEC Accountability Act of 2012″ in the Arizona House of Representin.’ Among its provisions, the bill called for greater transparency in lawmaker reporting of ALEC “scholarship funds,” and greater disclosure of the source of those funds. This article also details the grid of ALEC-member lobby firms at work in Phoenix, the corporations they represent and the political campaigns they orchestrate.

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“Publicopoly: ALEC and the bid to make private all that is public:”

(July, 2011.) Details the role of ALEC in disseminating model legislation aimed at weakening the political power of public employee unions, with the aim to dismantle and privatize the public sector. The article focuses largely on the web of influence that advanced such legislation in Florida– the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the James Madison Institute make notable appearances. Similar issues are discussed as they played out in Wisconsin, Arizona, Indiana and Ohio over the course of 2011.

This article contains audio of interviews conducted with ALEC personnel, lawmakers and lobbyists.

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“FBI issues subpoenas linked to Florida Geo Group investigation:”

(June, 2011.) As previously reported by DBA Press (“Legacy of Corruption,” February, 2011), the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been quietly investigating the circumstances which led to the appropriation and construction of Florida’s largest private prison, Blackwater River Correctional Facility (Blackwater CF), operated by Florida-based private prison operator, Geo Group. Subpoenas issued by federal investigators in recent weeks indicate that a grand jury empaneled in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida is moving forward with the investigation.

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“Prison Legal News survey examines prison phone contracts, kickbacks:”

(April, 2011.) An exhaustive analysis of prison phone contracts nationwide has revealed that with only limited exceptions, telephone service providers offer lucrative kickbacks (politely termed “commissions”) to state contracting agencies – amounting on average to 42% of gross revenues from prisoners’ phone calls – in order to obtain exclusive, monopolistic contracts for prison phone services.

These contracts are priced not only to unjustly enrich the telephone companies by charging much higher rates than those paid by the general public, but are further inflated to cover the commission payments, which suck over $152 million per year out of the pockets of prisoners’ families – who are the overwhelming recipients of prison phone calls. Averaging a 42% kickback nationwide, this indicates that the phone market in state prison systems is worth more than an estimated $362 million annually in gross revenue.

In a research task never before accomplished, Prison Legal News, using public records laws, secured prison phone contract information from all 50 states (compiled in 2008-2009 and representing data from 2007-2008).

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“New U.S. Marshals Director Confirmed Despite Conflict of Interest with Private Prison Companies:”

(March, 2011.) On December 21, 2010, just days before recessing for the holidays, the U.S. Senate confirmed Stacia Hylton as director of the U.S. Marshals Service in spite of opposition by a coalition of human rights, citizens’ advocacy and criminal justice-related organizations that argued she had a conflict of interest based on her close connections with private prison firms.

Hylton, a former Acting Deputy Director of the U.S. Marshals with a lengthy career in law enforcement, was employed from June 2004 to February 2010 as the Federal Detention Trustee. Following her retirement she was nominated by President Obama to head the Marshals Service, which handles security for federal courthouses, apprehends federal fugitives and oversees the detention of federal prisoners awaiting trial or immigration proceedings.

On October 25, 2010, after retiring as Federal Detention Trustee, Hylton quickly accepted a consulting job with GEO Group through her Virginia-based company, Hylton Kirk & Associates LLC, of which she is the president and sole owner. In her financial disclosure statements, Hylton reported income of $112,500 for “consulting services for detention matters, federal relations, and acquisitions and mergers.” GEO Group was the only company listed in her disclosure statements in connection with such consulting services.

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DBA Press Investigative report: “Legacy of Corruption:”

(January, 2011.) Freshman U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, as former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives (R-Miami, 2006-2008)—as well as other state GOP lawmakers and party contributors– are currently the likely subjects of multiple wide-ranging state and federal investigations conducted by the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) into improper use of credit cards issued by the Republican Party of Florida, as well as tax evasion and improper budgetary appropriations.

One such set of appropriations/legislative actions reportedly being investigated by federal authorities are those which led to the development of the state’s largest private prison, the Blackwater River Correctional Facility (CF), which opened its gates for operation in November. The prison was designed and is operated by Florida-based Geo Group, the nation’s second largest private prison operator.

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“Legislative Laundry: investigative report on the mechanics of the ALEC scholarship fund:”

(January, 2011.) Details the mechanics of the ALEC “scholarship fund” and the American Friends Service Committee call for an Arizona Attorney General/Secretary of State investigation into the mechanics of the fund in Arizona.

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“Hunger for Death Row: Lucasville Five prisoners on hunger strike seeking death row status:”

(January, 2011.) Details the conditions of Ohio’s “supermax” facility, Ohio State Prison Youngstown (OSP), which have driven members of the “Lucasville Five”– all sentenced to death for their alleged roles in the 1993 Lucasville prison uprising/standoff/riot– to launch a hunger strike so that they may enjoy the same living conditions as other prisoners on Ohio’s death row.

This story and documents archived discuss, in large part, the background of the Lucasville standoff and the subsequent convictions and ongoing legal battles of the “Five:” Siddique Abdullah Hasan (formerly Carlos Sanders), Keith Lamar (Bomani Shakur), Jason Robb, George Skatzes and Namir Mateen (formerly James Were).

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“Brownskins and Greenbacks: ALEC, the for-profit prison industry and Arizona’s SB 1070:”

(June, 2010.) Details involvement of the private prison industry and ALEC in the dissemination of model legislation based on Arizona’a controversial immigration bill, SB 1070, as well as the private prison industry’s influence in Arizona. Such items of influence include the role of both Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s campaign manager and director of communications as private prison industry lobbyists.

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“The Rainmakers:”

(December, 2009.) A story which tracks the history of Corplan Corrections and Innovative Government Strategies, a consortium of private prison developers and bond underwriters responsible for selling the small town of Hardin, Montana, on the idea of building what has proven to be a useless $27 million concrete box laced with razor wire.

Source materials archived include: court documents related to the consortium’s dealings in Texas; bond documents and feasibility studies related to the development of Corplan private prisons; as well as documents detailing the involvement of Califonia-based conman Michael Hilton and his American Private Police Force in the Hardin jail fiasco– and much more…

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