Category Archives: National Security vs Police State

Americans’ support for immigration is at record highs – but the government is out of sync with their views

Polls show that Americans feel more welcoming toward immigrants than they have in the past. Evgenia Parajanian/Shutterstock.com

Mariano Sana, Vanderbilt University

Since its start, the Trump administration has implemented policies to step up immigration enforcement and reduce the number of immigrants admitted into the U.S.

Many of these efforts – like the border wall, the travel ban, family separations, DACA termination and detention centers – have received wide media attention. In addition, the White House slashed refugee admissions, ended a number of special programs and changed rules used to adjudicate visa applications. Continue reading

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Concerns Over Police Brutality Persist as Hong Kong Protesters Shut Down One of World’s Busiest Airports

Now in their 10th week, the protests were sparked in June by a controversial extradition bill

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-12-2019

The Hong Kong airport protest. Photo: @percylurcher/Twitter

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters effectively shut down Hong Kong International Airport on Monday, the fourth day they have occupied one of the world’s busiest airports as part of the mass demonstrations—against police brutality and a controversial extradition bill—that have rattled Hong Kong since June.

The protests were initially spurred by a bill that, NPR explained, “would have allowed people in radHong Kong to be sent to mainland China to face trials in courts controlled by the Communist Party, sparking fears of politically motivated prosecutions targeting outspoken critics of China.” Although Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam quickly suspended the measure and later declared it “dead,” demonstrators continue to demand its full withdrawal and Lam’s resignation. Continue reading

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Leaked Draft of Trump Executive Order to ‘Censor the Internet’ Denounced as Dangerous, Unconstitutional Edict

“In practice, this executive order would mean that whichever political party is in power could dictate what speech is allowed on the Internet.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-11-2019

“It’s hard to put into words how mind bogglingly absurd this executive order is,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, following a leaked White House draft of what her group has dubbed the ‘Censor the Internet’ order. Image: Public domain

Civil liberties groups are warning of a major threat to online freedoms and First Amendment rights if a leaked draft of a Trump administration edict—dubbed by critics as a “Censor the Internet” executive order that would give powerful federal agencies far-reaching powers to pick and choose which kind of Internet material is and is not acceptable—is allowed to go into effect.

According to CNN, which obtained a copy of the draft, the new rule “calls for the FCC to develop new regulations clarifying how and when the law protects social media websites when they decide to remove or suppress content on their platforms. Although still in its early stages and subject to change, the Trump administration’s draft order also calls for the Federal Trade Commission to take those new policies into account when it investigates or files lawsuits against misbehaving companies.” Continue reading

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Privacy Advocates Celebrate Court Ruling on Class-Action Suit Targeting Facebook’s Facial Recognition Tech

“Both corporations and the government are now on notice that this technology poses unique risks to people’s privacy and safety.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-9-2019

A federal court ruled Thursday that a class-action suit targeting Facebook’s use of facial recognition technology can continue. (Photo: Legal Loop)

Civil liberties advocates celebrated after a federal court in San Francisco ruled Thursday that Facebook users in Illinois can sue the social media giant on the grounds that its facial recognition technology violates a strict state privacy law.

“This decision is a strong recognition of the dangers of unfettered use of face surveillance technology,” Nathan Freed Wessler, staff attorney with the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, said in a statement after the ruling. Continue reading

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‘A Dystopian Surveillance State Being Built in Plain Sight’: Pentagon Tests Radar-Equipped Balloons to Spy on Vehicles Across Midwest

“These programs are not about stopping violence, they’re about social control.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-2-2019

The Pentagon is experimenting with the use of radars attached to high-altitude balloons this summer, sending up to 25 balloons across six Midwestern states to conduct surveillance on vehicles over a 25-mile swath under each balloon. (Photo: Tony Webster/Flickr/cc)

Millions of Americans across the Midwest this summer are being subjected to surveillance from above as the Pentagon experiments with the use of surveillance radars attached to high-altitude balloons.

As The Guardian reported Friday, the defense and aerospace contractor Sierra Nevada Corporation was authorized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to send up to 25 balloons across six states to track vehicles. Continue reading

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Following Death Threats, Human Rights Defenders Demand Israeli Authorities Stand Up for Civil Society

“This is the result of the ongoing incitement campaign against aid and human rights organizations in Israel—with the encouragement and backing of politicians and public figures.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-31-2019

On Wednesday, death threats were found spray-painted outside the offices of Amnesty International in Tel Aviv and ASSAF, an organization which advocates for refugees and asylum seekers in Israel. (Photo: @AmnestyIsrael/Twitter)

Human rights defenders in Israel on Wednesday linked recent threats at three civil society organizations to the rhetoric and policies of the country’s government, which has worked to intimidate and suppress groups critical of its treatment of Palestinians and other marginalized people.

Staff members at Amnesty Israel in Tel Aviv and the Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel (ASSAF) on Wednesday found death threats written in spray paint on walls outside the organizations’ offices. A box containing death threats and a dead mouse was found around the same time at the Elifelet Children’s Activity Center, which cares for refugee children. Continue reading

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Asylum-Seekers Who Followed Trump Rule Now Don’t Qualify Because of New Trump Rule

Migrants hoping for U.S. protection have been waiting in Mexico for months, as the U.S. allowed fewer than ever to enter. Then it changed the rules entirely.

By Dara Lind. Published 7-22-2019 by ProPublica

An asylum seeker arrives in Tijuana, 2018. Photo: Daniel Arauz/flickr

 

The Trump administration has long said that there’s a right way to seek asylum in the United States: Come to an official port of entry at the border, then invoke the right under U.S. law to humanitarian protection.

But now, thousands of people are being barred from the U.S. precisely because they followed those rules.

Under an administration policy issued last week, most migrants who’ve passed through a third country — say, Mexico — will not even be allowed to request asylum at official border crossings. Continue reading

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To Keep Public Housing From Becoming ‘Panopticon of Automated Face Scanning,’ Democrats Push Facial Recognition Ban

“Surveillance of poor communities isn’t about safety, it’s about social control.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-23-2019

Two congresswomen are expected to introduce legislation banning the use of facial recognition surveillance in public housing this week. Photo: Change.org

Privacy and civil liberties advocates applauded a pair of Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday as they prepared to introduce legislation to protect public housing residents from the rise of facial recognition surveillance.

In a letter sent to their fellow members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) invited co-sponsors for the No Biometric Barriers to Housing Act, which would stop public housing complexes which accept funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from installing facial recognition tools. Continue reading

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‘Ethnic Cleansing With Impunity’: Israel Denounced for Demolishing Dozens of Palestinian Homes in Violation of International Law

“Such actions amount to war crimes,” declared Amnesty International

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-22-2019

Unfortunately, this has been going on for years. This 2006 photo is of IDF forces demolishing a house in Nablus. Photo: Michael Loadenthal/flickr

Global outcry erupted on Monday—with one critic condemning the move as “ethnic cleansing with impunity”—after Israeli forces demolished dozens of homes in Sur Baher, a Palestinian village that straddles East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

“These demolitions are a flagrant violation of international law and part of a systematic pattern by the Israeli authorities to forcibly displace Palestinians in the occupied territories; such actions amount to war crimes,” Saleh Higazi, deputy Middle East and North Africa director for Amnesty International, said in a statement Monday. Continue reading

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‘Close the Camps!’: Protesters March Against Trump’s Plan to Imprison Migrant Kids at Site of Japanese, Indigenous Incarceration

Fort Sill was the site of one of the nation’s Japanese American internment camps during World War II, decades after it was the site of imprisoned native communities

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-20-2019

Immigrant rights advocates marched to Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma on Saturday, July 20, 2019. (Photo: United We Dream via Twitter)

Hundreds of activists rallied in over 100° heat in Lawton, Oklahoma on Saturday to demand the Trump administration stop the incarceration of asylum-seeking children.

“Close the camps!” the crowd of protesters shouted on their march to Fort Sill. Continue reading

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