Tag Archives: Police State

‘Not a Good Answer’: Privacy Advocates Reject Democratic Proposal for ‘Technological Wall’ With Expanded Border Surveillance

“‘More surveillance’ has become the default answer to far too many difficult policy questions.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-11-2019

A U.S. surveillance tower seen from Nogales, Mexico, near the wall that runs between Mexico and the United States. (Photo: Jonathan McIntosh/Flickr/cc)

Progressives in recent weeks have applauded Democrats’ refusal to bend to President Donald Trump’s demands for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, a key component of his xenophobic anti-immigration agenda. But on Friday, digital rights advocates called on Democratic lawmakers to expand their fight against the wall into a fight for all human and constitutional rights—instead of suggesting alternative “border security” proposals that would infringe on civil liberties.

Fight for the Future launched a campaign Friday to fight against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) suggestion on Thursday that a so-called “technological wall” would be an appropriate alternative to Trump’s planned concrete or steel wall. Continue reading

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After Netflix Pulls Episode at Saudi Request, Comic Hasan Minhaj Urges Donations for Suffering Yemen

While Saudi Arabia attempts to ban content critical of its crown prince, “Let’s not forget that the world’s largest humanitarian crisis is happening in Yemen right now.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-2-2019

Comedian Hasan Minhaj responded Wednesday to Netflix’s decision to take an episode of his show “Patriot Act” off its platform in Saudi Arabia after the government complained it was critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (Photo: @Complex/Twitter)

Taking advantage of the recent attention brought to his Netflix series “Patriot Act” by the Saudi government’s objection to an episode that criticized Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, comedian Hasan Minhaj called on supporters to contribute to aid efforts in Yemen while mocking the prince’s insistence that the episode be banned in Saudi Arabia.

On Tuesday, on Saudi orders, Netflix removed from its Saudi platform a “Patriot Act” episode released shortly after the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents—which the CIA concluded was ordered by bin Salman, often called MbS—because Minhaj discussed the need for the U.S. to cut ties with the Saudis in light of the murder. However, the episode remained on YouTube in the country and is still available on Netflix outside Saudi Arabia. Continue reading

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‘You Are Courting a Fascist’: Pompeo Gives Inauguration US Blessing as Brazilians Brace for ‘Repugnant’ Bolsonaro

“This is the least American thing a secretary of state can do. Your trip is a disgrace.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-1-2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (front, far left) arrived in Brazil Tuesday to attend the inauguration of President Jair Bolsonaro. (Photo: @SecPompeo/Twitter)

While progressives, women’s rights advocates, journalists, and the LGBTQ community were among the many mourning Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s inauguration on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo angered critics with a celebratory tweet congratulating the proud misogynist who has defended Brazil’s former military dictatorship and vowed to crush the country’s leftist opposition during his first speech as president.

Pompeo tweeted that he was “looking forward to witnessing the peaceful transfer of power in one of Latin America’s strongest democracies,” as international observers warned that Bolsonaro’s presidency is likely to usher in a new era of fascism. Continue reading

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Journalist James Risen: Trump Is Attacking Free Press ‘In a Way We Haven’t Seen in Modern American History’

“I think the Acosta incident is… a symbol of an attempt to discredit not only CNN but the entire press corps.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-19-2018

Screenshot: CNN

Speaking from his years of experience being pursued by the Obama Justice Department for simply practicing journalism and refusing to reveal his confidential sourcesIntercept reporter James Risen told The Hill on Monday that President Donald Trump is building on his predecessor’s war on the free press by “demagoguing” the media “in a way we haven’t seen in modern American history.”

“Obama tried to put me in jail for seven years… A lot of conservatives try to point to me as an example of Obama on press freedom and I fully agree with the view that he had a terrible record on press freedom,” Risen said. “The difference with Trump is that he is demagoguing the issue in a way we haven’t seen in modern American history.” Continue reading

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Brazil: the day after

Our Brazilian friends are going to be needing us, a lot, in the coming years. We, and what is left of global civil society, have to be prepared and give shelter to those under attack.

By Francesc Badia i Dalmases.  Published 10-27-2018 by openDemocracy

“Courage is what gives meaning to freedom” reads this graffiti on the walls of the Cachoeira public university, in the state of Bahia, pictured in September 2018. Image: Francesc Badia. All rights reserved.

 

 

We have to prepare for the day after.

Brazil is already suffering from a tide of unbearable verbal and symbolic violence, and the incendiary hate speeches are already claiming their share of victims. Bolsonaro’s victory seems indisputable and is forcing us to get ready for a double action.

The first thing will be to protect ourselves and prevent verbal attacks from turning violent under the cloak of euphoria for the victory of a candidate who considers the losers not ideological or political rivals but enemies who must be eliminated. Communist worms, they call them. Continue reading

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For Next Weapon in Anti-Protest Arsenal, US Military Building Plasma Gun Capable of Vaporizing Human Flesh

At its highest setting, the new laser weapon would painfully vaporize the outer layer of skin from 100 meters away. Also, this so-called “non-lethal” weapon can kill people.

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-18-2018

Beyond NoDAPL March on Washington, DC. Photo: Rob87438 [CC-BY-SA-4.0] via Wikimedia Commons

From wood batons to stun batons to water cannons to sound cannons to. . .  frickin’ plasma lasers that can “vaporize” your skin?

Recent reporting out of the Pentagon reveals that the U.S. military is working on perfecting what they called a Scalable Compact Ultra-short Pulse Laser System (SCUPLS)—or plasma gun, for short—intended for mounting on a truck or a tank.

Billed as the military’s latest “crowd control” technology, what this has typically meant is a new “non-lethal” weapon designed for use by militaries or police forces against unruly demonstrators or those standing against powerful state actors or corporate forces. Continue reading

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Accusing Trump of Crossing Constitutional Line, PEN America Sues Over Threats and Reprisals Against Free Press

“When President Trump crosses the line and threatens to use his authority to punish the media, or actually does so, it is vital for the courts to step in and affirm that such threats and reprisals are unconstitutional.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for  Common Dreams. Published 10-16-2018

The lawsuit filed by PEN America and its partners seeks “to stop President Trump from using the machinery of government to retaliate or threaten reprisals against journalists and media outlets for coverage he dislikes.” (Image: PEN America)

Arguing that President Donald Trump has crossed the line from “verbal attacks on the press” that are protected under the his First Amendment rights into using his authority to punish journalists and media outlets he dislikes with threats of intimidation or reprisal, the literary rights group PEN America has announced a lawsuit against the president in order to bring an end to such attacks.

The lawsuit (pdf) brought in a Manhattan federal court on Tuesday—with PEN joined by the nonpartisan nonprofit Protect Democracy and the Yale Law School Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic—states that while Trump has constitutionally-protected rights and “is free to criticize the press vehemently,” the president “is not free to use the  power and authority of the United States government to punish and stifle it.”   Continue reading

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Israel’s Education Minister Wants “Shoot to Kill” Policy Against Palestinian Children

Israeli Education Minister, Naftali Bennett [File photo]

By Middle East Monitor. Published 10-9-2018

Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett said yesterday that he would impose a “shoot to kill” policy in Gaza, including against Palestinian children.

Bennett made the comment on Israel’s Army Radio after he was asked what he would do differently if he were the defence minister. Bennett replied:

“Everything. I would not allow terrorists to cross the border from Gaza every day… and if they do, we should shoot to kill. Terrorists from Gaza should not enter Israel… Just as in Lebanon, Syria or anywhere else we should shoot to kill.”

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Palestinians Mourn and Demand Justice After Israeli Snipers Murder Two Young Children in Gaza

“Israel’s use of deadly force against unarmed protesters on Friday is characteristic of its actions throughout the Great March of Return, during which more than 150 Palestinians have been killed.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-29-2018

Nasser Musabah’s classmates mourn him. Photo: @Mohammed pal/Twitter

After Israeli snipers massacred seven Palestinians—including two young children—and injured over 500 during protests against Israel’s brutal occupation on Friday, thousands of Gazans on Saturday attended funerals for those who were killed and demanded justice from the international community.

Among those killed by Israeli forces on Friday were 11-year-old Naser Azmi Musbeh and 14-year-old Mohammed Naif al-Houm. Continue reading

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Free Press Advocates Alarmed by US Government’s “Terrifying” Secret Rules for Spying on Journalists

“It makes me wonder, what other rules are out there, and how have these rules been applied?”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-17-2018

Press freedom advocates have obtained and released federal government documents detailing an invasive process officials can use to spy on journalists. (Photo: ACLU)

Journalists and free press advocates are responding with alarm to newly released documents revealing the U.S. government’s secret rules for using Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court orders to spy on reporters, calling the revelations “important” and “terrifying.”

The documents—obtained and released by the Freedom of the Press Foundation and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University through an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed last November—confirm long held suspicions that federal officials can target journalists with FISA orders. Continue reading

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