Tag Archives: FBI

Libertarian Police Skepticism Goes Mainstream

In 2014, critiquing the police went mainstream. “Police militarization” stopped being a term heard exclusively on libertarian internet radio shows or reddit forums, and instead became a normal talking point mentioned by politicians and news stations.  I believe I have maintained a healthy skepticism of all government, even local police forces, but it felt weird when reality pushed past the limits of fiction and kept going. Back in 2012, many libertarians were wary of the capabilities of the US intelligence community. But then Edward Snowden happened, and suddenly anyone not communicating exclusively in ephemeral Diffie-Hellman key exchanges using Perfect Forward Secrecy while wearing a tinfoil hat looked like a moron.

That same phenomenon has repeated itself in the past year; in the summer of 2014, any civil libertarian worth his or her salt probably believed the War on Drugs had given too much power to police forces at the expense of privacy and individual rights.  But would they have predicted police forces using military grade equipment on city streets, pointing semi-automatic rifles at unarmed civilians, arresting journalists, killing civilians with chokeholds, and then going on semi-strike by not “making arrests unless when necessary”? No one could be paranoid enough to believe that and be taken seriously.  But once again, the crazies were proven right: Continue reading

Disrupting the Currency Market

My column that originally appeared in the Duke Political Review.

The advancement of the digital age has transformed financial transactions, both in high powered trading and in everyday use. According to Nilson Reports, some $4 trillion in purchases occurred using credit, debit or prepaid credit cards in 2012. Online shopping is omnipresent, and smartphones have even rendered trips to your local bank unnecessary, as checks can be deposited directly into your account from wherever you are. The one area of payments that remained undisrupted by the digital age was the concept of currencies themselves. Continue reading

FBI kills suspect but totally doesn’t remember how it happened.

This article from the Atlantic details the changing story of the FBI about a man killed while being interrogated in Orlando in connection with the Boston bombing.

The fact that no one seems to have a conclusive story on what actually happened when this suspect was killed, several hours into an interrogation forces us to confront one of two explanations: gross incompetence or government sanctioned murder.  Since we don’t have much information, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of incentive for the FBI to kill a suspect, but that doesn’t exactly make anyone feel better.

And why can’t anyone get their story right?  Clearly someone screwed up big time in this situation, and it’s important that we figure out what happened and work to push back against government agents that abuse their power.