Category Archives: National Security vs Police State

Journalism Defenders Push for Passage of ‘Game-Changing’ PRESS Act

“The PRESS Act is the most important free press legislation in modern times because it would finally stop the government from spying on journalists and threatening them with arrest for doing their jobs,” explained one advocate.

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 12-7-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: AFGE/flickr/CC

Free press advocates this week urged people to contact Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office and ask the New York Democrat to pass legislation protecting journalists from government abuses during the closing days of the current Congress.

“The time between an election and the inauguration of a new Congress—or the lame-duck, as it is affectionately known—is ironically a time when things can happen on the Hill, in part because departing members don’t have to worry about reelection,” Emily Hockett, a Technology Press Freedom Project fellow, wrote for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Continue reading

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Protests in China are not rare – but the current unrest is significant

Protesters march along a street in Beijing on Nov. 28, 2022.
Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images

 

Teresa Wright, California State University, Long Beach

Street protests across China have evoked memories of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations that were brutally quashed in 1989. Indeed, foreign media have suggested the current unrest sweeping cities across China is unlike anything seen in the country since that time.

The implication is that protest in China is a rarity. Meanwhile, the Nov. 30, 2022, death of Jiang Zemin – the leader brought in after the bloody crackdown of 1989 – gives further reason to reflect on how China has changed since the Tiananmen Square massacre, and how Communist party leaders might react to unrest now. Continue reading

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‘The Nightmare Materializes’: Far-Right Extremist Itamar Ben-Gvir to Be Israel’s National Security Minister

The Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Palestinian Authority said Ben-Gvir’s elevation to national security minister could have a “catastrophic impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 11-25-2022 by Common Dreams

Itamar Ben-Gvir and radical right political activist Bentzi Gopstein in Sheikh Jarrah in February 2022. Photo: שי קנדלר/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Itamar Ben-Gvir, a far-right Israeli lawmaker who was convicted of incitement to racism against Arabs and supporting a terrorist organization in 2007, is poised to become Israel’s national security minister after reaching a deal Friday with incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.

Haaretz reported that the agreement between Likud and Ben-Gvir’s Jewish Power party is the first Netanyahu “has signed with another party as part of the coalition negotiations following this month’s elections, which saw his bloc winning the majority of votes.” Under the terms of the deal, Reuters observed, Ben-Gvir “will have an expanded security portfolio that will include responsibility for Border Police in the occupied West Bank.” Continue reading

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Citing Orwell, Judge Blocks ‘Positively Dystopian’ Censorship Law Backed by DeSantis

The federal judge lambasted Florida officials’ argument that “professors enjoy ‘academic freedom’ so long as they express only those viewpoints of which the state approves.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 11-17-2022 by Common Dreams

Governor Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at the 2021 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

In an order that begins by quoting the famous opening line of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, a federal judge on Thursday blocked key provisions of a Florida censorship law that aimed to restrict how state university professors teach race, gender, and U.S. history.

“‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen,’ and the powers in charge of Florida’s public university system have declared the state has unfettered authority to muzzle its professors in the name of ‘freedom,'” Judge Mark Walker of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, an Obama appointee, wrote in his scathing decision, which temporarily halts enforcement of parts of the law championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis—a possible 2024 presidential candidate. Continue reading

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Israel Refuses to Cooperate With US Probe Into Palestinian-American Journalist’s Killing

Israeli officials condemned the FBI investigation, while Shireen Abu Akleh’s family expressed hope that the probe will lead to accountability for those responsible.

By Julia Conley  Published 11-15-2022 by Common Dreams

Funeral of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh after her assassination in Palestine. Photo: alwatan_live/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The family of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh expressed hope Tuesday that the FBI’s newly announced investigation into her death will bring them “closer to justice,” as Israeli officials said they will not cooperate with the FBI and condemned the U.S. for opening a probe at all.

Israeli Foreign Minister Benny Gantz suggested the Biden administration should accept the “professional, independent investigation” already conducted by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), which concluded that the bullet that killed Abu Akleh in the occupied West Bank in May was too damaged to determine who had fired it. Continue reading

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Trump Reportedly Seeking Tips for Imprisoning Journalists If Reelected in 2024

“We’ve become used to this sort of thing from him, but we shouldn’t,” said one critic of the former president.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 11-8-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Amid speculation that former U.S. President Donald Trump will announce his 2024 run next week, Rolling Stone reported Tuesday that the Republican leader has sought advice about how he could ramp up his war with the news media by jailing journalists if he regains control of the White House.

Trump’s first presidential campaign and four years in office featured constant attacks on reporters, outlets, and the industry in general, from his frequent declarations of “fake news” to going after journalists for reporting on leaked information. Continue reading

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‘A Brazil of Hope’ as Leftist Lula Defeats Far-Right Bolsonaro in Presidential Runoff

The Workers’ Party candidate, who completed a remarkable political comeback less than three years removed from a prison cell, tweeted one word following his win: “Democracy.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 10-30-2022 by Common Dreams

Brazilian President-Elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Photo: Daya Laxmi Shrestha/Twitter

“A huge blow against fascistic politics and a huge victory for decency and sanity.”

That’s how RootsAction director Norman Solomon described Brazilian President-Elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s Sunday presidential runoff victory against far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, the culmination of a most remarkable political comeback for a man who was languishing behind bars just three years ago.

With 99% of votes counted via an electronic system that tallies final results in a matter of hours—and which was repeatedly aspersed by Bolsonaro in an effort to cast doubt on the election’s veracity—da Silva led the incumbent by more than two million ballots, or nearly two percentage points. Continue reading

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‘Cold Hard Threat to Democracy’: GOP Sowing Chaos at Polls Even Before Election Day

“Voters deserve better than this when they exercise their constitutional right at the polls,” said one government watchdog.

By Julia Conley  Published 10-27-2022 by Common Dreams

A ‘Vote Here’ sign outside an election polling place at Woodbury City Hall in Woodbury, Minnesota during the 2020 general election. Photo: Tony Webster/flickr/CC

Government watchdogs are warning that Republicans are operating a well-funded, well-organized campaign to sow “an unprecedented level of suspicion and unfounded doubt” in this year’s midterm elections by lodging dubious legal challenges even before Election Day arrives and training thousands on how to create confusion at the polls.

As the Associated Press reported Thursday, more than 100 lawsuits have already been filed regarding the election, which is still 12 days away. The lawsuits have largely been filed by Republicans and focus on issues including mail-in voting, voting machines, and access for partisan poll watchers. Continue reading

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PR firm accused of greenwashing big oil is helping organize COP27

The US agency has a “shameful track record of spreading disinformation” but has been hired by the Egyptian government

By Ben Webster  Published 10-21-2022 by openDemocracy

The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference COP27, taking place next month in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, is being promoted by PR firm Hill+Knowlton, which has been accused of greenwashing | Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/Sipa USA

The US public relations firm helping Egypt organise COP27 also works for major oil companies and has been accused of greenwashing on their behalf, openDemocracy can reveal.

Hill+Knowlton Strategies, which has worked for ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron and Saudi Aramco, is managing communications for Egypt’s presidency of the UN climate conference, which will take place next month in Sharm El Sheikh. Continue reading

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Groups Warn SCOTUS May Gut ‘Foundational’ Digital Rights Law

“Weakening Section 230 would be catastrophic—disproportionately silencing and endangering marginalized communities,” said one campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 10-4-2022 by Common Dreams

Rights advocates warn weakening Section 230 would disproportionately silence and endanger “marginalized communities including LGBTQ+ people, Black and Brown folks, sex workers, journalists, and human rights activists around the world.” Photo: Public domain

Digital rights advocates responded with alarm to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Monday decision to take up a case that could enable right-wing justices to gut Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

“Section 230 is a foundational and widely misunderstood law that protects human rights and free expression online,” said Fight for the Future director Evan Greer in a statement late Monday. Continue reading

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