Articles About surveillance, freedom of speech, civil rights and civil liberties. Click the title to read the full article.
With the advent of the National Security State many articles about surveillance, freedom of speech, and civil rights and civil liberties appear routinely. In addition, after Ferguson and then after the Trump administration took hold, many more challenges to civil rights as well as civil liberties have been issued. Links are provided in this portfolio to some of these articles and videos.
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Mr. Fish / Truthdig
A former SDS leader talks about activism and strategic planning and nonviolence vs. violence.
“The thing about nonviolence is that it works,” [Rudd] said. “But it only works if it’s total. The cops put the burden of violence on protesters. Our job is to do the opposite. Our job is to make it crystal clear it’s the government and the system that engages violence. We muddy the water when we use violence.”
By Chris Hedges Truthdig TD ORIGINALS April 16, 2018
April 19, 2018
As part of its “media monitoring,” the DHS seeks to track more than 290,000 global news sources as well as social media in over 100 languages, including Arabic, Chinese and Russian, for instant translation into English.
Muslims Accused of Violent Crimes Get More Media Attention, Harsher Sentences
A court room drawing of the trial of Akayed Ullah, who was accused of a detonating a pipe bomb on his person in a corridor linking the subway to the Port Authority bus terminal in New York City in December 2017. (Elizabeth Williams / AP Photo)
A new study from the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, or ISPU, asserts that perpetrators of violent crimes are sentenced more harshly when they are perceived to be Muslim. The report also asserts that major American media outlets focus a disproportionate amount of attention on Muslims accused of plotting violence.
“The findings of this report build and expand on existing research, and [provide] quantitative backing to many people’s instinctual perceptions of what has been going on in the media and in our legal system,” Kumar Rao, a fellow at ISPU and a co-author of the report, told The Intercept. “As it relates to acts of ideological violence, there is, frankly, a double standard in how perpetrators are described in the media, as well as how they are treated in the courts.”
The report states:
On average, prosecutors sought three times the sentence length for Muslim perpetrators as for perpetrators not identified as Muslim for similar plots of attempted ideologically driven violence (230 months vs. 76 months). Additionally, Muslim perpetrators received four times the average sentence as their non-Muslim counterparts for attempted plots of similar conduct (211 vs. 53).
Moreover, undercover law enforcement or an informant provided the means of the crime (such as a firearm or inert bomb) in a majority (two-thirds) of convictions in plots involving a perceived Muslim perpetrator, but in a small fraction (two out of twelve) of those involving a non-Muslim perpetrator.
In terms of print media coverage, Muslim-perceived perpetrators received twice the absolute quantity of media coverage as their non-Muslim counterparts in the cases of violent completed acts. For “foiled” plots, they received seven and half times the media coverage as their counterparts.
By Emily Wells Truthdig April 7, 2018
Washington, DC, police and federal prosecutors have been collaborating with notorious right-wing groups known for fascist statements and using doctored videos to ambush their targets in an attempt to convict and jail protesters from President Trump’s inauguration.
The question is not whether the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and the US Attorney’s office in Washington, DC, are working with Oath Keepers, a group of cops and veterans with rabid anti-government views, and Project Veritas, a far-right group known for fabricating accounts to ambush the media and the political left.
The question is, how deep is the relationship between the police, federal prosecutors and these extremists? And in MPD’s case, are Washington police breaking the law, as its city council has passed laws barring them from spying on protesters or protest groups?
By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet February 14, 2018
A critical mass of Senate Democrats voted with Republicans on Tuesday to shut down any further debate on a bill that strengthens the government’s spying powers. The bill would renew a key surveillance authority for the National Security Agency until 2023 and consolidate the FBI’s power to search Americans’ digital communications without a warrant. The motion, which passed 60-38, virtually guarantees that the final bill will pass likely later this week and quashes any opportunity to debate whether protections should be added. Eighteen Democrats — including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who had previously proposed an amendment to restrict the FBI’s surveillance authority — voted in support of the motion. -more-
By Alex Emmons Popular Resistance January 18, 2018
Some undocumented immigrants keep their heads down, careful not to attract attention that might get them noticed by federal officers. Not Maru Mora-Villalpando. The 47-year-old Mexican native has been an outspoken activist for years and has been upfront about staying in the United States after her tourist visa expired. Now, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has put Mora-Villalpando in deportation proceedings, and she and her supporters have charged the agency with retaliation. She said she has lived in the United States for more than 25 years. Her daughter, Josefina Alanis Mora, a 20-year-old born in the United States and studying at Western Washington University, called the situation a “nightmare.”
Popular Resistance Daily Digest January 18, 2018
Photo: Ty Campbell via The Red Line Salish Sea
NINE MONTHS AFTER pipeline opponents in Washington state staged a protest that blocked freeway traffic, Facebook ended a protracted legal standoff with a county prosecutor, turning over detailed records on the indigenous-led group behind the demonstration. Despite the fact that no criminal charges have been filed in connection with the February action, Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney David McEachran repeatedly sought a warrant for the group’s Facebook page, ultimately securing private information including messages to and from the page and a list of everyone “invited” to the protest event.
McEachran’s first two warrant applications were withdrawn after the American Civil Liberties Union and Facebook raised objections. On the third try, however, the warrant was granted thanks to Facebook’s suggestion that McEachran’s office seek formal guidance from the nation’s top law enforcement agency, the Department of Justice. A public records request filed by The Intercept shows that the local agency and its federal counterpart cooperated to draft the ultimately successful warrant using a DOJ template.
Activists affiliated with the climate justice group, Red Line Salish Sea, view the investigation as retaliation for their February protest, a march against local fossil fuel projects and President Donald Trump’s executive orders expediting construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. “Not only does this warrant attempt to scare people from organizing, this warrant attempts to scare people from even looking at information,” Tina McKim, an administrator of Red Line’s Facebook page, wrote in a declaration.
Simon Davis-Cohen The Intercept January 14 2018, 12:35 p.m.
H.R. 3202 is a short and simple bill, sponsored by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee(D-TX), that would require the Department of Homeland Security to submit a report to Congress outlining how the government deals with disclosing vulnerabilities. Specifically, the mandated report would comprise two parts. First, a “description of the policies and procedures developed [by DHS] for coordinating cyber vulnerability disclosures,” or in other words, how the government reports flaws in computer hardware and software to the developers. And second, a possibly classified “annex” containing descriptions of specific instances where these policies were used to disclose vulnerabilities in the previous year, leading to mitigation of the vulnerabilities by private actors.
Perhaps the best thing about this short bill is that it is intended to provide some evidence for the government’s long-standing claims that it discloses a large number of vulnerabilities. To date, such evidence has been exceedingly sparse.
BY NATE CARDOZO AND ANDREW CROCKER
Electronic Frontier Foundation January 12, 2018
The US Army is pursuing a new intelligence tool which is able to understand social media posts in languages including Russian, Arabic and French, and which can post answers on its own.
Mint Press News January 12, 2018
While the popular view of academia as the vanguard of intellectual leftism has some merit, this perception hides the fact that openly fascist views and their holders have always been associated with higher learning. In fact, fascism in academic thinking is nothing new, both in Europe and in the US, and without a conscious response, it is bound to grow and metastasize unchallenged. Read more…
By Shane Burley, Truthout | News Analysis January 4, 2018
A New York Times investigation has revealed how the Department of Homeland Security is increasingly going global, with thousands of agents from the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration stationed in more than 70 countries around the world. Hundreds more DHS workers are deployed at sea on Coast Guard ships or in the skies on surveillance planes. Stationing ICE overseas is reportedly about four times as expensive as a domestic post. Now some countries are accusing DHS of attempting to export the United States’ restrictive immigration laws, with one German politician saying DHS’s interrogations and detentions at foreign airports constitute an extrajudicial travel ban. We speak with Ron Nixon, The New York Times’s homeland security correspondent who broke the story, “Homeland Security Goes Abroad. Not Everyone Is Grateful.”
GUESTS Ron Nixon homeland security correspondent for The New York Times.
This month, Senators Mike Lee, a Republican, and Edward Markey, a Democrat, called for a halt to the expansion of a $1 billion airport facial scanning program that the Department of Homeland Security uses to identify travelers on some flights that depart from nine U.S. airports: Boston, Las Vegas, Miami, New York’s John F. Kennedy, Washington Dulles, both Houston airports, Chicago O‘Hare and Atlanta. Congress has approved the program for use on non-U.S. citizens but never expressly authorized its use on Americans. The senators also asked DHSto provide data about the accuracy of the scans and cited a study by the Center on Privacy and Technology that said the technology had high error rates and was subject to bias, because the scans often fail to properly identify women and African Americans. We speak with Ron Nixon, homeland security correspondent for The New York Times.
Democracy Now! December 29, 2017
Protesters gather at the Los Angeles International airport’s Tom Bradley terminal in January 2017 to demonstrate against President Trump’s then-executive order effectively banning citizens from seven Muslim majority countries. (KONRAD FIEDLER/AFP/Getty Images)
Movements are gearing up for the fight ahead.
“We’re not dividing ourselves. We’re going to stand united.”
President Donald Trump’s campaign to ban migrants from Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States received the Supreme Court’s stamp of approval in early December, even after his administration’s efforts inflamed outrage around the world and triggered a surge of legal opposition in the courts. Now, as the border once again tightens against countless refugees and travelers from eight countries, Trump’s opposition is gearing up to fight back—heading back to Washington to once again challenge against the so-called “Muslim ban.”
The Supreme Court issued an interim ruling on December 4 that upheld the latest version of Trump’s executive order barring travelers from eight countries, targeting six Muslim-majority nations (Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen). Though not a final ruling, the decision allows “Muslim Ban 3.0” to go into effect while the order is further litigated in the lower courts.
Ajit Pai’s plan is expected to contain a “total repeal” of net neutrality protections, posing a grave threat to the future of freedom of expression, access to information, and small businesses particularly for communities of color and low income communities. The December 7 protests represent growing grassroots backlash to the FCC’s plan, which polls show is wildly unpopular with people from across the political spectrum. The events are supported by Team Internet, a grassroots network of nearly half a million volunteer activists spearheaded by Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, and Free Press Action Fund, three of the groups behind the massive July 12 net neutrality day of action that drove millions of comments, emails, and phone calls to the FCC and Congress. Over recent months the groups behind the protests have organized thousands of constituents to attend more than 600 town halls and meetings with lawmakers to demand their suppo rt for net neutrality. A phone call campaign through BattleForTheNet.com has generated nearly 250,000 phone calls to legislators offices. At the protests participants will be encouraged to take a group photo and tweet it at their local members of Congress. Where possible, protesters will march to a nearby lawmaker’s office and deliver petition signatures. Protests are currently planned in Phoenix, Denver, San Francisco, New York City, Indianapolis, Miami, Boston, Seattle, and several other cities across the country. -more-
By Evan Greer for Fight for the Future Popular Resistance November 23, 2017
In one of the most horrendous blows to press freedom since the anti-communist witch hunts of the 1950s, the U.S. Department of Justice has forced the news broadcaster RT America to file under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
By Chris Hedges Truthdig November 12, 2017
Chris Hedges in a screen shot from his RT America program, “On Contact.” (RT America)
The assault on RT America, on which I host the show “On Contact,” has nothing to do with the dissemination of Russian propaganda. It is driven by RT America’s decision to provide a platform to critics of American capitalism and imperialism, critics who lambast a system of government that can no longer be called democratic. And it is accompanied by the installation of algorithms by Google, Facebook and Twitter that divert readers away from left-wing, progressive and anti-war websites, including Truthdig. The World Socialist Web Site has seen its search traffic from Google fall by 74 percent since April. Google, in a further blow, this month removed RT from its list of “preferred” channels on YouTube. Twitter has blocked all advertising by the channel.
Rise Up Times November 15, 2017
Wednesday’s hearings by the House and Senate Intelligence committees on “extremist” political views served as the occasion for members of Congress to urge technology companies to flagrantly violate the US Constitution by censoring political speech, carrying out mass surveillance, and muzzling journalists in pursuit of the government’s geopolitical aims. The hearings revolved around allegations, promoted ceaselessly in recent months by the intelligence agencies, leading figures within the Democratic Party, and newspapers such as the New York Times, that social opposition to the political establishment results from “fake news” promoted by Russia. As Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff put it, “Russia” promoted “discord in the US by inflaming passions on a range of divisive issues” and sought to “mobilize real Americans to sign online petitions and join rallies and protests.” The basic problem, however, as Schiff put it, is “not just fo reign.” The algorithms used by Facebook and Twitter have the “consequence of widening divisions among our society.” Schiff complained: “What ends up percolating to the top of our feeds tends to be things we were looking for,” as opposed to US government propaganda disseminated by the establishment media, which he referred to as “true information.” -more-
By Andre Damon for WSWS – Popular Resistance November 5, 2017
We live in a time of journalistic prosecution, as investigative journalists get increasingly targeted for simply doing their job. The Obama Administration prosecuted more individuals under the Espionage Act than all previous administrations combined; in fact, it used the law to prosecute journalists almost exclusively. It is imperative that journalists protect themselves as they continue to pursue their important work in the face of growing government control. That is why Michael Dagan, a former deputy editor of the Israeli newspaper Haaertz, and Ariel Hochstadt, a former security expert as well as a marketing expert for Google, have created a guide, Online Privacy for Journalists, to help journalists protect both themselves and their sources. “Many journalists whom I have spoken with recently expressed concern for whatever lies ahead for the freedom of the press. All encryption systems can be compromised, if someone has the perseverance to track them,� �� writes Dagan in an introductory paragraph. “The good news is that it is nevertheless possible to make it difficult for anyone to try and intercept your emails, the text messages you’re sending or your phone calls.” One may be surprised by the extreme measures the guide suggests are necessary as preventive steps to ensure the highest likelihood of a journalist maintaining privacy. -more-
By Chris Paulus for Occupy – Popular Resistance November 5, 2017
If this document had been published sooner, it could have dramatically changed the course of the war by exposing the true face of the “moderate rebels” — and potentially saved tens of thousands of lives. That didn’t happen, and no reason has been given by the Intercept for its delay.
By Whitney Webb Mint Press News October 30, 2017
Police fire pepper spray at demonstrators in Washington, D.C., after Donald Trump’s inauguration in January. (John Minchillo / AP)
Judge Lynn Leibovitz ruled on Oct. 18 that a protective order in the trial of 218 Inauguration Day protesters does not apply to police body camera footage taken before the arrests.
Leibovitz said the order did apply to the audio that accompanies the police video, citing the safety of the officers and their families.
The ruling came after sometimes impassioned pleading from the prosecution the previous week. Representing the government, prosecutor Jennifer Kerkhoff argued that law enforcement, including herself, have had personal information released as part of the case and used an instance when a police officer stated his address while the camera was on to argue that the rights of the defendants in the case should be limited.
‘People are entitled to go to work everyday with their uniforms on’ and not be identified, Leibovitz said, partially agreeing with the prosecution.
The Indypendent notes that the original motion for the protective order was filed when they published previously police body camera footage showing police brutalizing demonstrators. The Indypendent has not revealed the source of the video, and writes that the protesters “are facing up to 75 years in prison on charges of rioting and conspiracy to riot based on evidence as thin as the color of the clothing they wore.” The Real News notes that “According to charging documents, wearing the color black indicated participation in a criminal conspiracy.”
The bodycam footage obtained by the Real News shows a variety of weapons, including non-lethal stingball grenades and pepper spray, being used against peaceful protesters, including those not wearing black.
TD ORIGINALS Truthdig October 27, 2017
By Sarah Anderson for Inequality – By canceling a program that grants work permits and deportation protection for undocumented immigrants, the Trump administration has upended the lives of roughly 800,000 young people who came to the United States as children. Mexicans make up the vast majority of these Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program recipients. But thousands of young black immigrants also stand to lose their protected status — and the challenges they face are often overlooked in the immigration debate. The Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) has been working since 2006 to shine a spotlight on the black undocumented population and to fight the structural racism that sucks them into the criminal justice system in disproportionate numbers. According to BAJI, black immigrants make up just 5 percent of the overall immigrant population, but 21 percent of those who are deported as a result of criminal contact. This level of racial targeting gives young black undocumented immigrants particular cause for concern about their insecure status. BAJI estimates that 12,000 DACA recipients are black. The three top countries of origin: Jamaica (5,302 approved applicants), Trinidad and Tobago (4,077 approved), and Nigeria (2,095 approved). -more-
Popular Resistance September 10, 2017
President Trump and his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, may be embroiled in a tense workplace dispute, but there’s one issue they still see eye to eye on: cracking down on undocumented immigration.
Sessions on Tuesday announced a new set of funding qualifications that would limit sanctuary cities’ receipt of federal grants for law enforcement. “So-called ‘sanctuary’ policies make all of us less safe because they intentionally undermine our laws and protect illegal aliens who have committed crimes,” Sessions said in a statement.
“As part of accomplishing the Department of Justice’s top priority of reducing violent crime, we must encourage these ‘sanctuary’ jurisdictions to change their policies and partner with federal law enforcement to remove criminals,” the statement continues. “From now on, the Department will only provide Byrne JAG grants to cities and states that comply with federal law, allow federal immigration access to detention facilities, and provide 48 hours notice before they release an illegal alien wanted by federal authorities.”
By Emma Niles, www.truthdig.com Popular Resistance July 27th, 2017
“…since grasping the present from within is the most problematic task the mind can face.”
— Frederic Jameson
One of the first things an authoritarian governing elite must do is to convince people that they are not free. This has been going on for at least forty years, ever since the Church Committee’s revelations about the CIA in the mid-seventies, including its mind-control programs. Everyone was appalled at the epiphany, so a different tactic was employed. Just have “experts,” social, psychological, and biological “scientists,” repeat ad infinitum that there is no longer any mind control since we now know there is no mind; it is an illusion, and it all comes down to the brain. Biology is destiny, except in culturally diversionary ways in which freedom to choose is extolled – e.g. the latest fashions, gender identity, the best hair style, etc. Create and lavishly fund programs for the study of the brain, while supporting and promoting a vast expansion of pharmaceutical drugs to control people. Do this in the name of helping people with their emotional and behavioral problems that are rooted in their biology and are beyond their control. And create criteria to convince people that they are sick. More
THE CRIMINALIZATION OF political speech and activism against Israel has become one of the gravest threats to free speech in the West. In France, activists have been arrested and prosecuted for wearing T-shirts advocating a boycott of Israel. The U.K. has enacted a series of measures designed to outlaw such activism. In the U.S., governors compete with one another over who can implement the most extreme regulations to bar businesses from participating in any boycotts aimed even at Israeli settlements, which the world regards as illegal. On U.S. campuses, punishment of pro-Palestinian students for expressing criticisms of Israel is so commonplace that the Center for Constitutional Rights refers to it as “the Palestine Exception” to free speech.
Unfortunately, this is how the government at all levels—federal, state and local—now responds to those who choose to exercise their First Amendment right to peacefully assemble in public and challenge the status quo. This police overkill isn’t just happening in troubled hot spots such as Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, Md., where police brutality gave rise to civil unrest, which was met with a militarized show of force that caused the whole stew of discontent to bubble over into violence. A decade earlier, the NYPD engaged in mass arrests of peaceful protesters, bystanders, legal observers and journalists who had gathered for the 2004 Republican National Convention. The protesters were subjected to blanket fingerprinting and detained for more than 24 hours at a “filthy, toxic pier that had been a bus depot.” That particular exercise in police intimidation tactics cost New York City taxpayers nearly $18 million for what would become the largest protest settlement in history. Demonstrators, journalists and legal observers who had gathered in North Dakota to peacefully protest the Dakota Access Pipeline reported being pepper sprayed, beaten with batons, and strip searched by police. -more-
By John W. Whitehead for Counter Punch Popular Resistance July 18, 2017
DC National Lawyers Guild (DC NLG) and Defending Rights and Dissent, two groups who defend the right to protest, are demanding answers about the Metropolitan Police Department’s conduct during anti-Trump inauguration protests. Earlier today, the two groups filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request asking for records pertaining to police use of force against protesters, including the deployment of chemical and projectile weapons, and the use of police infiltrators leading up to the January 20 protests. “The police assault on the right to protest on January 20is part of a broader trend of cracking down on dissent taking place across the nation,” said Maggie Ellinger-Locke, co-chair of the DC NLG Demonstration Support Committee. -more-
By Rights and Dissent. Popular Resistance July 17, 2017
Allies of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, have called for new curbs on leftwing extremists, including a Europe-wide register, after her decision to hold the G20 world leaders’ summit in Hamburg ended in violent clashes and injuries to nearly 500 police officers. The cost of the damage has not yet been established but is expected to run into millions of euros. Merkel, who faces a parliamentary election on 24 September, has said that Hamburg residents who suffered damage will be properly compensated. Olaf Scholz, the mayor of Hamburg, meanwhile faced calls for his resignation over accusations he had mismanaged the summit. Hundreds of anti-capitalist militants descended on the city torching cars, looting shops and throwing molotov cocktails. The violence dominated German media coverage of the event, which also featured the first meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. The German justice minister, Heiko Maas, of Merkel’s SPD coalitio n partners, said the federal government would put more money into preventing leftwing extremism as he pledged that no German city would ever have to host a world leaders’ summit again. He told the tabloid Bild that the G20 had shown the reality of experts’ assessments that “Germany has reached a historic high point in terms of politically-motivated violence”. -more-
By Kate Connolly for The Guardian – Popular Resistance July 12, 2017
Tactics once reserved for violent criminals are now targeting undocumented youth and parents. In a cover story published today (June 16), Slate lays out 60 scenes from life as an undocumented immigrant in President Donald Trump’s America, pulled from the Columbia Journalism School’s Global Migration Project. Slate starts with February 20, the day the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued two memos on immigration enforcement. The following day, 25-year-old Edwin Romero, an undocumented youth who would have qualified for citizenship under the proposed (and failed) DREAM Act, was arrested for a traffic violation but, ultimately held overnight in jail on an “immigration hold.” Then, in March, there was a teacher in Honolulu who wrote a staff-wide email that he wouldn’t teach any undocumented student. The examples go on and on—up until April 20, exactly 60 days after the DHS memos. As Slate points out, fewer than 9 percent of Immigrat ion and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees have been connected to violent crime. -more-
By Yessenia Funes for Color Lines – Popular Resistance July 12, 2017
University of California, Irvine is once again investigating the school’s Students for Justice in Palestine group after a protest of an event featuring Israeli soldiers last month. But members of Students for Justice in Palestine say they are the ones who endured days of harassment and intimidation by Israeli soldiers invited to campus to give a panel discussion about the Israeli army. The SJP students say they were subjected to days of racial and sexual slurs in what they believe was an attempt to provoke a reaction. UC Irvine has been a focal point for Israel advocacy groups seeking to categorize support for Palestinian rights as anti-Semitic. Documents obtained by Palestine Legal through a freedom of information request show that over the last year Israel advocacy organizations have consistently pressured the UC Irvine administration to crack down on Palestine activism. They were also instrumental in the school’s adoption of a po licy that conflates opposition to Zionism, Israel’s state ideology, with anti-Semitism. -more-
By Charlotte Silver for The Electric Antifada – Popular Resistance July 12, 2017
Swedish prosecutors have dropped an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Assange has denied the allegations, which he calls a pretext for his ultimate extradition to the U.S. to face prosecution under the Espionage Act. Since 2012, Assange has taken refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. It’s not clear whether Assange will emerge any time soon. “This is a small victory, but in this long road to free Julian Assange and all the people working for WikiLeaks,” says our guest Renata Avila, a Courage Foundation trustee and human rights lawyer. “But it will finally help us lawyers to focus on the main issue, which is the persecution, the political persecution, and imminent prosecution of Julian Assange in the United States.”
Democracy Now! May 19, 2017
Daniel Cooper Bermudez for Popular Resistance – Digital rights are under threat in the United States and abroad as corporations and governments work together to infringe upon people’s privacy and limit essential civil and political rights such as freedom and equality in access to information. From the FCC’s dismantling of Net Neutrality to the inclusion of digital trade provisions in TPP that industry leaders want in NAFTA, the movement has been ready to fight back and has counter-proposals to guarantee that the internet remains free and open, a center for the global organizing required to foster a world fighting back climate change and human rights violations. -more-
Popular Resistance May 5, 2017
Statement by Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistleblower:
“Obama having opened the legal campaign against the press by going after the roots of investigative reporting on national security — the sources — Trump is going to go after the gatherers/gardeners themselves (and their bosses, publishers). To switch the metaphor, an indictment of Assange is a ‘first use’ of ‘the nuclear option’ against the First Amendment protection of a free press. (By the way, the charges they’re reportedly considering against him — conspiracy, theft, and violation of the Espionage Act — are exactly the charges I faced in 1971.)
“If journalists and publishers fail to call this out, denounce and resist it — on the spurious grounds that Julian is ‘not a real journalist’ like themselves — they’re offering themselves up to Trump and Sessions for indictments and prosecutions, which will eventually silence all but the heroes and heroines among them.”
This statement by Daniel Ellsberg was read by Army veteran and retired diplomat Ann Wright at a news conference Friday morning outside the Department of Justice organized by ExposeFacts, a project of the Institute for Public Accuracy.
Video of the news conference, which also featured remarks by retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern, is now available at Facebook Live. Higher quality video and audio will be available later today on YouTube and via @xposefacts.
Antiwar April 28, 2017
Undercover officers with the New York Police Department (NYPD) not only infiltrated Black Lives Matter protesters, they become so embedded within the group as to have access to text communications available only to a limited number of organizers. And, they continued their undercover operations despite a lack of any evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
Defending Rights and Dissent April 6, 2017
In Spite of Local Law Limiting Investigations of First Amendment Assemblies, DC Police Infiltrated Organizing Group for Inauguration Protests
Before the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) had arrested a single protester at Trump’s inauguration, undercover agents had infiltrated one of the main groups organizing protests according to court documents.
Defending Rights and Dissent April 19, 2017
Published on Apr 28, 2017
CIA Director Mike Pompeo recently called WikiLeaks a “hostile intelligence service.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that Julian Assange’s arrest is a “priority” of the Trump administration. In response, numerous individuals — with differing perspectives on WikiLeaks — warn of a growing threat to press freedom.
Today at the Justice Department 2 former government officials addressed U.S. government policy toward WikiLeaks and whistleblowers:
* Ann Wright is a retired U.S. Army Reserve colonel, and a 29-year veteran of the Army and Army Reserves. As a U.S. diplomat, Wright served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Krygyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia and helped re-open the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan in 2001. In March of 2003, she resigned in protest over the invasion of Iraq. She is co-author of Dissent: Voices of Conscience.
* Ray McGovern, a former Army officer and CIA analyst who prepared the President’s Daily Brief (under the Nixon, Ford, and Reagan administrations), is co-founder of Sam Adams Associates for Integrity (see: samadamsaward.ch), which gave Julian Assange its annual award in 2010. Sam Adams Associates strongly opposes any attempt to deny Julian Assange the protections that are his as a journalist.
Contact at ExposeFacts (a project of the Institute for Public Accuracy):
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, sam [at] accuracy dot org.
EFF is out with a new report that highlights concerns held by parents, students, teachers, and others over the privacy implications of the use of mobile devices and cloud services in K-12 classrooms across the country—so called education technology or “ed tech.” Concerns include a lack of transparency about how technology is used in classrooms, the difficulty of determining the privacy implications of ed tech, the absence of standard privacy precautions, and inadequate technology and privacy training for teachers.
The report is the result of an EFF survey, launched in December of 2015, which elicited responses from over 1000 students, parents, teachers, librarians, school administrators, system administrators, and community members.
While there are educational advantages to incorporating technology into the classroom experience, the survey results reflect an overarching concern that children as young as kindergartners are being conditioned to accept a culture of surveillance. EFF maintains that children should not be taught that using the Internet or technology requires sacrificing personal privacy.
EFF April 13, 2017
Portland – The ACLU of Maine and five other New England ACLU affiliates today filed a lawsuit demanding government documents about the on-the-ground implementation of President Trump’s Muslim bans.
The lawsuit is seeking records from the Boston field office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) related to CBP’s implementation of President Trump’s Muslim bans at Bradley, Bangor, Burlington, Logan, Manchester and T.F. Green international airports.
“President Trump’s multiple executive orders have been a thinly veiled attempt to keep Muslims out of the country,” said Zachary Heiden, legal director at the ACLU of Maine. “The United States was founded on religious freedom, and our Constitution requires it. These orders are an attack on our most fundamental values, and the American people deserve to know how they are being carried out.”
ACLU April 12, 2017
The bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees apologized during a press conference this morning for failing to provide rigorous supervision of the intelligence community, blaming past years’ inaction on a fundamental misunderstanding of the word “oversight.” “It was merely a miscommunication,” House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes said. “We had mixed up the word ‘oversee’ and the word ‘overlook.’ We thought we were supposed to overlook the mistakes of the intelligence community, not provide oversight.” Senate Intelligence Committee Richard Burr said, “We unequivocally condone the privacy invasions committed by U.S. intelligence agencies. Oh shoot, I mean condemn.”
EFF April 1, 2017
More people have died at the hands of law enforcement in the US so far this year than during the same period in 2016, casting a dark shadow over the Donald Trump administration as it invests more power in the police. By 19 March this year, 271 people have already been killed by police, compared with 262 people by the same date in 2016, according to a database called Killedbypolice.net. There were fewer deaths (255) in 2015 and even fewer (209) in 2014 by the same point. The rising numbers do little to reassure critics of Donald Trump, who signed an executive order in February to invest more power in the police and who has all but scrapped the former Justice Department’s investigation into law enforcement violence around the US. -more-
By Rachael Revesz for Independent – Popular Resistance March 30, 2017
FOR ALMOST FOUR years, a cottage industry of media conspiracists has devoted itself to accusing Edward Snowden of being a spy for either Russia and/or China at the time he took and then leaked documents from the National Security Agency. There has never been any evidence presented to substantiate this accusation.
In lieu of evidence, the propagators of this accusation have relied upon the defining tactic of tawdry conspiracists everywhere: relentless repetition of rumor and innuendo based on alleged inconsistencies until it spreads far enough through the media ecosystem to take on the appearance of being credible. In this case, there was one particular fiction — about where Snowden spent his first 11 days after arriving in Hong Kong — which took on particular significance for this group.
“I think that the Christian right is a far more dangerous movement than the alt-right,” says Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges.
The Empire Files February 28, 2017
The U.S.-Mexico border in Nogales, Ariz. (Flickr / CC 2.0)
As the Trump administration continues its mass deportations apace, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is considering ramping up anti-immigration policies even further with a new rule that would separate mothers from their children at the U.S.-Mexico border.
That’s according to Reuters, which cites three unnamed government officials who had been briefed on the proposal intended “to deter mothers from migrating to the United States with their children.”
By Nika Knight / Common Dreams Truthdig March 4, 2017
A new Palantir Technologies system will help immigration officials discover targets and administer deportation cases against them. (Wikimedia Commons)
Palantir Technologies, a software company founded by Silicon Valley conservative Peter Thiel, has almost finished creating a $41 million program for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The new technology, called Investigative Case Management (ICM), will greatly help ICE and the Trump administration deport undocumented immigrants.
Posted by Emma Niles Truthdig March 4, 2017
LOS ANGELES – The ACLU Foundation of Southern California and a coalition of advocacy groups today sent a letter to Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck, Mayor Eric Garcetti and city council members, demanding that they take steps to prevent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers from impersonating police officers to gain access to homes and businesses in Los Angeles.
The deception critically endangers LAPD policies that seek to assure immigrant community members they can report crimes and assist police investigations without fear of deportation. These policies have been vital in furthering public safety.
By Staff, www.aclusocal.org Popular Resistance February 28th, 2017
The lack of technical chops among congressional staff has become a glaring problem as cyber attacks escalate and move to the political fore.
Jenna McLaughlin The Intercept February 28, 2017
Lifeline has provided discount phone service for low-income customers since 1985. Last March, the FCC issued an order modernizing the program to include broadband internet access in response to growing concern that low-income people and communities of color are being left behind as access to high-speed internet expands nationwide.
The reform groups argue that the FCC should implement the order swiftly and push more resources into the program instead of kicking companies off the list of eligible providers.
“Lifeline … is the only federal program poised to bring broadband to poor families across the US so that they can connect to jobs, complete their homework, and communicate with healthcare providers and emergency services,” the groups wrote in a letter to the FCC.
Pai defended the FCC’s decision in a blog post earlier this month, pointing out that there are hundreds of other companies that provide Lifeline services, and the FCC is only “reconsidering” the nine companies’ eligibility for the program in order to root out “waste, fraud and abuse.” He added that the National Tribal Telecommunications Association had requested that some of the companies be reconsidered.
However, critics say the move undermines a key program for keeping the poor connected and raises doubts about Pai’s claims that he is as dedicated to “bridging the digital divide” as he claims to be.
By Mike Ludwig, www.truth-out.org Popular Resistance February 27th, 2017
WASHINGTON (AP) — Analysts at the Homeland Security Department’s intelligence arm found insufficient evidence that citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries included in President Donald Trump‘s travel ban pose a terror threat to the United States.
A draft document obtained by The Associated Press concludes that citizenship is an “unlikely indicator” of terrorism threats to the United States and that few people from the countries Trump listed in his travel ban have carried out attacks or been involved in terrorism-related activities in the U.S. since Syria’s civil war started in 2011.
By VIVIAN SALAMA and ALICIA A. CALDWELL APNews February 25, 2017
Whistle-blower Edward Snowden has spoken on a report suggesting Vladimir Putin is considering sending him back to the US as a “gift” to President Donald Trump, claiming the story proves he is not a spy.
“Finally: irrefutable evidence that I never cooperated with Russian intel,” Snowden said. “No country trades away spies, as the rest would fear they’re next.”
Truthdig Common Dreams Staff February 11, 2017
The TSA’s use of physical indicators to look for suspicious travelers has been roundly criticized by watchdogs who say there’s no science behind it.
Cora Currier The Intercept February 8, 2017
The Intercept February 1, 2017
The lawsuit accuses Barrett Brown’s prosecutors of abusing their power by monitoring anonymous political contributions to his legal defense fund.
Alex Emmons The Intercept February 7, 2017
As a member of Southern Arizona’s Tohono O’odham Tribe, Ofelia Rivas uses Native-language names for the desert outside her adobe home and the animals that inhabit it. She has names for the stoic cactus, for the furrowed bluffs, for the humbling, boundless horizons.
By Tim Vanderpool, YES! Magazine | Truthout Report February 5, 2017
Anti-police brutality activists argue that the law will be used disproportionately against people of color.
A police chief in Louisiana is now applying the its “Blue lives matter” law, approved by the state’s Democratic governor last year, which allows officers to charge those who resist arrest in any situation with hate crime against law enforcement.
Telesur English January 25, 2017
By ProPublica. We are a team of investigative journalists devoted to exposing abuse of power. If you’ve got evidence showing powerful people doing the wrong thing, here’s how to let us know while protecting your identity. Our job is to hold people and institutions accountable. And it requires evidence. Documents are a crucial part of that. We are always on the lookout for them — especially, now. Have you seen something that troubles you or that you think should be a story? Do you have a tip about something we should be investigating? Do you have documents or other materials that we should see? We want to hear from you. Here are a few ways to contact us or send us documents and other materials, safely, securely and anonymously as possible. -more-
Popular Resistance January 9, 2017
The U.S. government is creating a new $160 million bureaucracy to shut down information that doesn’t conform to U.S. propaganda narratives, building on the strategy that sold the bloody Syrian “regime change” war, writes Rick Sterling. By Rick Sterling Consortium News January 1, 2016 The U.S. establishment is not content simply to have domination over […]
Rise Up Times January 3, 2017
Obama’s Recently-Signed National Defense Authorization Act Includes A ‘Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act’. The Intercept’s Alex Emmons Explains…
Rise Up Times January 2, 2017
Nearly a decade and a half after the Iraq-WMD faceplant, the American press is again asked to co-sign a dubious intelligence assessment
President Obama with Vladimir Putin. (photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
n an extraordinary development Thursday, the Obama administration announced a series of sanctions against Russia. Thirty-five Russian nationals will be expelled from the country. President Obama issued a terse statement seeming to blame Russia for the hack of the Democratic National Committee emails.
“These data theft and disclosure activities could only have been directed by the highest levels of the Russian government,” he wrote.
Russia at first pledged, darkly, to retaliate, then backed off. The Russian press today is even reporting that Vladimir Putin is inviting “the children of American diplomats” to “visit the Christmas tree in the Kremlin,” as characteristically loathsome/menacing/sarcastic a Putin response as you’ll find.
This dramatic story puts the news media in a jackpot. Absent independent verification, reporters will have to rely upon the secret assessments of intelligence agencies to cover the story at all.
By Matt Taibbi Rolling Stone Reader Supported News December 31, 2016
Since Tuesday, foreign travelers arriving in the United States on the visa waiver program have been presented with an “optional” request to “enter information associated with your online presence,” a government official confirmed Thursday. The prompt includes a drop-down menu that lists platforms including Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube, as well as a space for users to input their account names on those sites.
By TONY ROMM Politico December 22, 2016
The refrain of Russian attribution has been repeated so regularly and so emphatically that it’s become easy to forget that no one has ever truly proven the claim.
By Sam Biddle The Intercept December 14, 2016
Using Holidays As A Distraction, Obama Just Signed NDAA ‘Propaganda’ Provision To Destroy Free Press
President Obama signed into law the 2017 NDAA and its Orwellian countering foreign propaganda provisions — all but making censorship official policy.
True Activist December 24, 2016
The legacy of the science of coercion continues into the present day, resulting in “media wars” waged with psychological warfare becoming more blatant…
By Sue Ann Martinson Rise Up Times December 7, 2016
State-sponsored broadcasting CEO to be appointed directly by US president
RT December 18, 2016
Following several reports of potentially unlawful surveillance, EFF sent technologists and lawyers to North Dakota to investigate. We collected anecdotal evidence from water protectors about suspicious cell phone behavior, including uncharacteristically fast battery drainage, applications freezing, and phones crashing completely. Some water protectors also saw suspicious login attempts to their Google accounts from IP addresses originating from North Dakota’s Information & Technology Department. On social media, many reported Facebook posts and messenger threads disappearing, as well as Facebook Live uploads failing to upload or, once uploaded, disappearing completely.
Coleen Rowley comment on Rise Up Times Facebook page: Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern and other former intelligence analysts explain how Brennan’s CIA is working with neocon warhawks to push for war and a kind of internal “regime change.”
When it comes to American politics specifically and European politics in general, there is nothing like playing the Russia card. If there is something wrong or there is something you don’t like, simply blame Vladimir Putin. That is exactly what the CIA is doing. CrossTalking with Ray McGovern, Philip Giraldi, and James Jatras.
The internet search company chose at the time not to publish the actual subpoena, but it is now releasing redacted versions of that letter and seven others, as well as correspondence with the FBI pertaining to their release.
“In our continued effort to increase transparency around government demands for user data, today we begin to make available to the public the National Security Letters (NSLs) we have received where, either through litigation or legislation, we have been freed of nondisclosure obligations,” Richard Salgado, Google’s director of law enforcement and information security policy wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.
Jenna McLaughlin The Intercept December 13 2016
An Iraqi family looks out the front gate of their home following a car bomb on Nov. 19, 2004, in Baghdad. (photo: Marwan Naamani/Getty)
y the first half of 2004, the National Security Agency was drowning in information. It had amassed 85 billion phone and online records and cut the ribbon on a new hacking center in Hawaii — but it was woefully short on linguists who could make sense of captured communications and lacked enough network analysts to effectively monitor all the systems it had hacked.
The signals intelligence collected by the agency was being used for critically important decisions even as NSA struggled to understand it. Some bombs in Iraq were being targeted based entirely on signals intelligence, a senior NSA official told staff at the time — with decisions being made in a matter of “minutes” with “less and less review.”
Information overload is just one of several themes running through 262 articles from the NSA’s internal news site, SIDtoday, which The Intercept is now releasing after careful review. The documents also detailed an incident in which the Reagan administration appears to have leaked classified intelligence to the press for political purposes, described in an accompanying article by reporter Jon Schwarz.
By Micah Lee and Margot Williams, The Intercept December 8, 2016
Posted on Reader Supported News
The Investigatory Powers Bill, dubbed the “Snoopers’ Charter” by critics, will hand British police and spy agencies new powers to hack computers and access vast troves of private data.
Ryan Gallagher The Intercept November 22, 2016
Just a few weeks before trial, the government’s own experts still couldn’t agree on which terrorist training camp Hamid Hayat attended, something Hayat’s lawyers say they were never told.
The technology can be used to monitor political ad social justice movements, posing risks to First Amendment-protected activity.
Brennan Center for Justice November 19, 2016
Bershidsky, for some odd reason, thinks these protests are about convincing Trump in some interpersonal manner. They’re actually about demonstrating mass disapproval of the pending regime and its stated goals, not appealing to Trump’s better angels.
By Adam Johnson Rise Up Times FAIR November 17, 2016
“Project X,” a short film by Henrik Moltke and Laura Poitras. This article is the product of a joint reporting project between The Intercept and Field of Vision.
The NSA has operated a top-secret surveillance program out of an iconic AT&T building in Manhattan, documents indicate.
THEY CALLED IT Project X. It was an unusually audacious, highly sensitive assignment: to build a massive skyscraper, capable of withstanding an atomic blast, in the middle of New York City. It would have no windows, 29 floors with three basement levels, and enough food to last 1,500 people two weeks in the event of a catastrophe.
Ryan Gallagher, Henrik Moltke The Intercept November 16, 2016
Alex Kane The Intercept October 17, 2016
The secret opinions affect the government’s use of malware, its attempts to compel technology companies to circumvent encryption, and the CIA’s bulk collection of financial records under the Patriot Act.
Alex Emmons The Intercept October 19, 2016
Despite pushback from civil liberties advocates, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is poised to start collecting social media information from people entering under the visa waiver program.
Cora Currier The Intercept October 21, 2016
A BROAD COALITION of over 50 civil liberties groups delivered a letter to the Justice Department’s civil rights division Tuesday calling for an investigation into the expanding use of face recognition technology by police. “Safeguards to ensure this technology is being used fairly and responsibly appear to be virtually nonexistent,” the letter stated. The routine unsupervised use of face recognition systems, according to the dozens of signatories, threatens the privacy and civil liberties of millions — especially those of immigrants and people of color.
These civil rights groups were provided with advance copies of a watershed 150-page report detailing — in many cases for the first time — how local police departments across the country have been using facial recognition technology. Titled “The Perpetual Lineup,” the report, published Tuesday morning by the Georgetown Center on Privacy & Technology, reveals that police deploy face recognition technology in ways that are more widespread, advanced, and unregulated than anyone has previously reported.
Ava Kofman The Intercept October 18, 2016
A special tribunal has found that British spy agencies maintained huge secret databases of people’s private data without adequate safeguards between 1998 and 2015.
Ryan Gallagher The Intercept October 17, 2016
But come January, Democrats will continue to be the dominant political faction in the U.S. — more so than ever — and the tactics they are now embracing will endure past the election, making them worthy of scrutiny. Those tactics now most prominently include dismissing away any facts or documents that reflect negatively on their leaders as fake, and strongly insinuating that anyone who questions or opposes those leaders is a stooge or agent of the Kremlin, tasked with a subversive and dangerously un-American mission on behalf of hostile actors in Moscow.
To see how extreme and damaging this behavior has become, let’s just quickly examine two utterly false claims that Democrats over the past four days — led by party-loyal journalists — have disseminated and induced thousands of people, if not more, to believe. On Friday, WikiLeaks published its first installment of emails obtained from the account of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. Despite WikiLeaks’ perfect, long-standing record of only publishing authentic documents, MSNBC’s favorite ex-intelligence official, Malcolm Nance, within hours of the archive’s release, posted a tweet claiming — with zero evidence and without citation to a single document in the WikiLeaks archive — that it was compromised with fakes…
Glenn Greenwald The Intercept October 15, 2016
Google revealed Wednesday it had been released from an FBI gag order that came with a secret demand for its customers’ personal information.
Jenna McLaughlin The Intecept October 14, 2016
Appeals Court Ruled Officials Could Be Sued for Unconstitutional Profiling and Abuse; Ashcroft, Ziglar, Mueller Seeking Reversal
October 11, 2016, Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a request by former high-level Bush administration officials to review a 2015 ruling allowing them to be sued for their roles in the post-9/11 profiling, immigration detention, and abuse of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian men. Former FBI director Robert Mueller, Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Commissioner James Ziglar, and Attorney General John Ashcroft will be urging the Court to protect government officials who create and implement unconstitutional policies.
“No one is above the law. To suggest that the most powerful people in our nation should escape liability when they violate clearly established law defies the most fundamental principle of our legal system,” said Center for Constitutional Rights Senior Staff Attorney Rachel Meeropol. “At a time when racial and religious profiling are put forward as serious policy proposals for dealing with everything from immigration to terrorism, it is more important than ever that the high court affirm that government officials, especially those at the highest levels, can be held accountable when they break the law. We look forward to making that argument before the justices.”
The plaintiffs in Turkmen v. Ashcroft and other men detained after 9/11 came to the attention of the FBI in 2001 through discriminatory tips by scared citizens about “Arabs” working long hours, or “Middle Eastern” men renting post office boxes. Mueller ordered that all such tips be thoroughly investigated, even those based on blind animus, and Ashcroft ordered that everyone arrested as a result be held as a suspected terrorist until cleared by the FBI, then deported.
Center for Constitutional Rights October 11, 2016
The court will be even more shorthanded than usual: Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan recused themselves from the case, meaning it could be heard by a minimum quorum of six justices. The nine-member court has a vacancy because of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February.The case was filed by six men on behalf of hundreds of mainly Muslim noncitizens who were detained on civil immigratioc xzn charges for as long as eight months. They never were charged with terrorism but were held in harsh conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. …Read the full piece here.
Center for Constitutional Rights
Washington Post October 11, 2016 Updated October 12, 2016
Wikileaks, a stateless media organization, with no allegiance to any country and no corporate or government money behind it, has published over 10 million documents in its first decade of publishing. (Image: Screenshot/Wikileaks)
“To me, freedom of speech is something that represents the very dignity of what a human being is… that’s what marks us off from the stones and stars.” These are words spoken by Mario Savio, the spokesperson for the Free Speech Movement in the 60’s. Decades later, the power of free speech has surged onto the global stage and began reclaiming the dignity of humanity.
We are now entering WikiLeaks 10 year anniversary. The organization registered their domain on October 4, 2006 and blazed into the public limelight in the spring of 2010 with the publication of Collateral Murder. This video footage depicted the cruel scenery of modern war seen from an Apache helicopter gun-sight. It became an international sensation, with the website temporarily crashing with the massive influx of visitors.
By Nozomi Hayase Common Dreams October 4, 2016
Rights groups said the news proves “the failure of U.S. government reforms to curb NSA’s tendency to try and indiscriminately vacuum up the world’s data.”
In an astounding and “unprecedented” new account of U.S. government surveillance, Reuters reported Tuesday that Yahoo secretly scanned all of its customer’s incoming emails for a specific set of characters, per request of the National Security Agency (NSA) or FBI.
“The order issued to Yahoo appears to be unprecedented and unconstitutional. The government appears to have compelled Yahoo to conduct precisely the type of general, suspicionless search that the Fourth Amendment was intended to prohibit.”
—Patrick Toomey, ACLU
The news agency broke the investigation after speaking with “two former employees and a third person apprised of the events,” who described how the email giant complied with the vast government directive and built a custom software program to scan hundreds of millions of accounts for a “specific set of characters.”
The Department of Justice’s policies surrounding lengthy gag orders on secret FBI requests for records are unconstitutional, wrote five members of Congress in a legal …
Jenna McLaughlin The Intercept September 29, 2016
Ten organizations – including Privacy International, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Amnesty International – are taking up the landmark case against the U.K. government in the European Court of Human Rights (pictured above). In a 115-page complaint released on Thursday, the groups allege that “blanket and indiscriminate” surveillance operations carried out by British spy agencies in collaboration with their U.S. counterparts violate privacy and freedom of expression rights.
Ryan Gallagher The Intercept September 30, 2016
Protesters throw used oil at the seal of Shell Oil Company, one of the so-called Big 3 oil firms in the country, to protest a new round of gasoline and other oil products Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013 at the financial district of Makati city, east of Manila, Philippines. (AP/Bullit Marquez)
The International Criminal Court announced Thursday it will now hold corporate executives and governments legally responsible for environmental crimes.
The Hague court made explicit references to widening its approach to include land grabbing, which has allowed private corporations, with the help of governments, to take over large areas of foreign land to exploit natural resources. It will also prosecute for environmental destruction.
“Chasing communities off their land and trashing the environment has become an accepted way of doing business in many resource-rich yet cash-poor countries,” said Gillian Caldwell, executive director at Global Witness. “Company bosses and politicians complicit in violently seizing land, razing tropical forests or poisoning water sources could soon find themselves standing trial in the Hague alongside war criminals and dictators. The ICC’s interest could help improve the lives of millions of people and protect critical ecosystems.”
The violence surrounding environmental conflicts also often leaves corpses in its wake. In 2015, more than three people were murdered each week attempting to defend their lands from land grabbing, according to Global Witness. The group estimated that an area the size of Germany has been leased to international investors in developing countries since 2000.
“If Obama grants Manning clemency, Assange will agree to US prison in exchange — despite its clear unlawfulness.” Continue reading →
MintPress News September 16, 2016
Top-secret documents expose the controversial role of a massive NSA surveillance base in England’s countryside.
Ryan Gallagher — Sep. 6 The Intercept
‘His bravery was a catalyst for the modern movement to defend democracy,’ said Malkia Cyril of Center for Media Justice
Prominent activists, lawmakers, artists, academics, and other leading voices in civil society, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), are joining the campaign to get a pardon for National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden.
“The information disclosed by Edward Snowden has allowed Congress and the American people to understand the degree to which the NSA has abused its authority and violated our constitutional rights,” Sanders wrote for the Guardian on Wednesday. “Now we must learn from the troubling revelations Mr. Snowden brought to light. Our intelligence and law enforcement agencies must be given the tools they need to protect us, but that can be done in a way that does not sacrifice our rights.”
Nadia Prupis, staff writer Common Dreams September 14, 2016
On Friday, I spent the day reading lawsuits filed by parents of non-transgender students alleging that the specter of trans bodies in spaces shared with their children infringed their parenting rights as well as the privacy rights of their children. In what can only be described as a cruel set of legal filings, parent groups represented by anti-LGBT legal organization, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), have escalated their strategic assault on trans existence.
I have been refused entry clearance to the USA to chair the presentation of the Sam Adams Award to CIA torture whistleblower John Kiriakou and to speak at the World Beyond War conference in Washington DC. Like millions of British passport holders I have frequently visited the USA before and never been refused entry clearance under the visa waiver programme.
I shall apply for a visa via the State Department as suggested but I must be on a list to be refused under the ESTA system, and in any event it is most unlikely to be completed before the conference.
It is worth noting that despite the highly critical things I have published about Putin, about civil liberties in Russia and the annexation of the Crimea, I have never been refused entry to Russia. The only two countries that have ever refused me entry clearance are Uzbekistan and the USA. What does that tell you?
By Emma Niles Truthdig September 10, 2016
nytimes.com September 2, 2016
Judge Denies Hepatitis C Cure for Mumia Abu-Jamal, but Finds Lack of Care in Prison Unconstitutional
How a middle-aged pro-democracy activist was falsely accused of terrorism and placed on a top-secret NSA surveillance list.
Ryan Gallagher, Nicky Hager The Intercept August 14, 2016
Former FBI Chief, Ted Gunderson, discusses terror attacks and who is behind them…
By: Martin Mavis Talk Network August 09, 2016
Former President Jimmy Carter announced support for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden this week, saying that his uncovering of the agency’s massive surveillance programs had proven “beneficial.”
“America does not have a functioning democracy at this point in time,” Carter said, according to a translation by Inquisitr.
No American outlets covered Carter’s speech, given at an Atlantic Bridge meeting, which has reportedly led to some skepticism over Der Spiegel’s quotes. But Carter’s stance would be in line with remarks he’s made on Snowden and the issue of civil liberties in the past.
EARLY IN THE fight against al Qaeda in Afghanistan and insurgents in Iraq, the National Security Agency was blindsided by enemy fighters’ frequent use of rudimentary wireless communications devices known as “high–powered cordless phones,” according to documents among 263 published today by The Intercept.
The documents, drawn from the agency’s internal news site, SIDtoday, and provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, date mostly to the latter half of 2003, and show the NSA was at the time rapidly expanding its internet monitoring.
Margot Williams, Micah Lee The Intercept August 10, 2016
Michael German, former FBI agent and a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty and National Security Program at the New York University of Law, spoke at Peacestock on terrorism. Peacestock is sponsored by Minnesota Chapters of Veterans for Peace.
Peacestock 2016 July 9, 2016
WHEN HILLARY CLINTON first acknowledged in March 2015 that she had indeed used a private email account — and her own server — to conduct official government business as secretary of state, it would have been hard to imagine that her campaign would 16 months later pronounce itself “pleased” that an FBI investigation concluded that she and her aides “were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”
Hillary Clinton. (photo: AP)
BI Director James B. Comey said Tuesday that his agency will not recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server as secretary of state, but called Clinton and her staff “extremely careless” in handling sensitive material.
Comey said the FBI investigations into more than 30,000 emails — and others pieced together from data “fragments” — determined that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” The findings now go to the Justice Department.
The announcement — which came only about 72 hours after FBI agents interviewed Clinton — in some ways lifts the cloud that has been hanging over Clinton’s presidential campaign for months.
But it will almost certainly spark criticism that the outcome of the high-profile probe was a foregone conclusion, influenced heavily by political considerations.
By Matt Zapotosky, The Washington Post Reader Supported News July 5, 2016
The US Senate Intelligence Committee’s 2017 Intelligence Authorization Bill includes a request that the White House reinstate a Cold-War-era presidentially-appointed group to unmask Russian spies and uncover Russian-sponsored assassinations.
By June 28, 2016
United States – The proposed revival of a Cold War-era committee to hunt for Russian espionage and assassination plots in the United States was just a tactic to foster fear-mongering among the American people, AT&T/National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Mark Klein told Sputnik.
Meanwhile, the Orlando Sentinel is reporting that the FBI has asked law enforcement agencies to withhold public records in the wake of the Pulse nightclub massacre. In a June 20 letter, the FBI asks other law enforcement agencies to “immediately notify the FBI of any requests your agency received [so] the FBI can seek to prevent disclosure through appropriate channels, as necessary.” More than two dozen media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel, have requested public documents, and a federal lawsuit has been launched to demand their release.
Democracy Now! June 30, 2016 Headlines
The classified rules, obtained by The Intercept and dating from 2013, govern the FBI’s use of National Security Letters, which allow the bureau to obtain information about journalists’ calls without going to a judge or informing the news organization being targeted. They have previously been released only in heavily redacted form.
Cora Currier The Intercept June 30, 2016
Judges have handed down their verdict against Former PriceWaterhouseCoopers employees Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet. The pair leaked documents that implicated over 300 multinational corporations, in secretly negotiated deals with the Luxembourg government to avoid paying taxes on profits made in Europe.
Telesur June 29, 2016
THE FBI HAS “hundreds of millions of dollars” to spend on developing technology for use in both national security and domestic law enforcement investigations — but it won’t reveal the exact amount.
By Jenna McLaughlin The Intercept June 25, 2016
A while back, we noted a report showing that the “sneak-and-peek” provision of the Patriot Act that was alleged to be used only in national security and terrorism investigations has overwhelmingly been used in narcotics cases. Now the New York Times reports that National Security Agency data will be shared with other intelligence agencies like the FBI without first applying any screens for privacy. The ACLU of Massachusetts blog Privacy SOS explains why this is important.
Washington Post March 10, 2016
LAST MONTH, A GROUP OF STUDENTS at University of California at Irvine gathered to protest a screening of the film “Beneath the Helmet,” a documentary about the lives of recruits in the Israeli Defense Forces. Upset about the screening of a film they viewed as propaganda for a foreign military, the students were also protesting the presence of several IDF representatives who here holding a panel discussion at the screening.
LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES, including the FBI, have been knocking on the doors of activists and community organizers in Cleveland, Ohio, asking about their plans for the Republican National Convention in July.
As the city gears up to welcome an estimated 50,000 visitors, and an unknown number of protesters, some of the preparations and restrictionsput in place by officials have angered civil rights activists. But the latest string of unannounced home visits by local and federal police mark a significant escalation in officials’ efforts to stifle protest, they say.
ISIS IN AMERICA | Nine Lost Souls the FBI Charged as Terrorists While Letting the Orlando Shooter Go
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
The terms “lone wolf” and “self-radicalization” make no sense when the FBI won’t leave Muslim Americans alone, but instead lures them into “terror plots,” and the U.S. provides arms, money and protection for jihadist terror overseas. The FBI tried to entrap – that is, recruit – Orlando gunman Omar Mateen, just as the U.S. recruited jihadists in Syria. “If Mateen’s crime was inspired by ISIS, any condolences coming from President Obama are phony.”
Black Agenda Report June 23, 2016
Many Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) attacks have been carried out by people who have no direct connections with the group, but who were inspired by terrorist “propaganda” and a quite successful “information war,” former FBI agent Coleen Rowley told RT.
“It is a very worrying trend … If people are merely inspired and there’s this information war taking place where ISIS actually has a very much an upper hand … ISIS is seen as one of the only entities that is fighting the United States and they are carrying on propaganda,” she said.
This post includes photos and several videos and features Coleen Rowley’s comments.
AlterNet June 13, 2016