Tag Archives: Security

‘A Harrowing Warning’ to All as Hungary Hands Far-Right Leader Dictatorial Powers Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

“We could have a parallel epidemic of authoritarian and repressive measures following close if not on the heels of a health epidemic.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-30-2020

Viktor Orban. Photo: European Parliament/flickr/CC

Human rights groups and activists issued dire warnings about the state of democracy in Hungary—and the rest of the world—after the nation’s parliament on Monday approved a sweeping emergency law handing far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orbán dictatorial powers as the European country battles the coronavirus pandemic.

The new law indefinitely suspends elections and parliament, imposes up to five years in prison for anyone who intentionally spreads what the government classifies as misinformation, and gives Orbán the authority to suspend laws by decree as he works to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. The law easily passed Hungary’s parliament, which is dominated by Orbán’s far-right Fidesz party, by a vote of 137 to 53. Continue reading

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With Nation Focused on Coronavirus, Rights Groups Warn Senate Against Handing Trump ‘Terrifying’ Spy Powers

“It’s unthinkable to extend these spying powers to the same agencies that have so often sidestepped safeguards and ignored Americans’ fundamental privacy rights.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-16-2020

Protesters carried signs at a march against mass surveillance on Oct. 26, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: EFF/Flickr/cc)

Ahead of a vote that could take place in the Senate as soon as Monday evening, civil liberties groups and federal lawmakers critical of mass surveillance spoke out against House-approved legislation that would reauthorize “abusive” and “dangerous” U.S. government spying powers that expired Sunday.

The Democrat-held House was widely criticized last week for passing the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act (H.R. 6172), a bipartisan compromise negotiated by leaders in the lower chamber that includes the reauthorization of Section 215 powers that Congress established under the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001, which federal agencies have used to justify the collection of Americans’ phone records. Continue reading

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From border security to climate change, national emergency declarations raise hard questions about presidential power

Global Climate Strike NYC in New York, Sept. 20, 2019. Rainmaker Photo/MediaPunch /IPX via AP Photo

Daniel Farber, University of California, Berkeley

As wildfires, storms and other climate-driven disasters grow larger and more damaging, climate change is a major concern for many Democratic voters, who are in the midst of a primary fight that has come down to two major candidates: Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. Both candidates say climate change would be one of their top priorities as president – but there’s an important difference between their approaches.

Sanders has pledged to declare climate change a national emergency and use executive power to lead “a ten-year, nationwide mobilization” to remake the U.S. economy. Continue reading

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A military perspective on climate change could bridge the gap between believers and doubters

A soldier stands guard at the damaged entrance to Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida, Oct. 11, 2018, after Hurricane Michael. AP Photo/David Goldman

Michael Klare, Hampshire College

As experts warn that the world is running out of time to head off severe climate change, discussions of what the U.S. should do about it are split into opposing camps. The scientific-environmental perspective says global warming will cause the planet severe harm without action to slow fossil fuel burning. Those who reject mainstream climate science insist either that warming is not occurring or that it’s not clear human actions are driving it.

With these two extremes polarizing the American political arena, climate policy has come to a near standstill. But as I argue in my new book,“All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change,” the U.S. armed forces offer a third perspective that could help bridge the gap. Continue reading

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Biolab for “Most Dangerous Pathogens on Earth” Opened in Wuhan Before Outbreak

23 million people in China “are effectively under quarantine” due to the sudden outbreak of a deadly new virus in Wuhan.

By John Vibes Published 1-23-2020 by The Mind Unleashed

As of Thursday afternoon, 23 million people in seven Chinese cities have been placed on quarantine due to the sudden outbreak of a deadly SARS-like virus called 2019-nCoV.

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‘This Is Alarming’: Iranian-Americans Reportedly Detained, Asked About Political Views at US Border

“Deeply disturbed by reports that Iranian-Americans, including U.S. citizens, are being detained at the Canadian border with WA State,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal.

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-5-2020

“First they ban us. Then they starve our families via sanctions. Then they threaten our cultural heritage sites with bombs. Now they’re detaining us at the border,” said NIAC organizing director Donna Farvard. (Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Flickr/cc)

Reports that dozens of Iranian-Americans were detained at the U.S.-Canada border on Saturday and questioned about their “political views and allegiances” were met with alarm by lawmakers and rights groups, particularly given the soaring military tensions between Iran and the U.S. brought on by the Trump administration.

On Sunday, the Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said it is “assisting more than 60 Iranians and Iranian-Americans of all ages who were detained at length and questioned at the Peace Arch Border Crossing in Blaine, Wash.” Continue reading

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Amazon and Ring Hit With Lawsuit After Camera Hacks Confirm Worst Fears of Privacy Advocates

“These devices are not safe,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future.

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-27-2019

Photo: Wikipedia

Home security company Ring and its parent corporation Amazon were hit with a lawsuit in federal court Thursday alleging that their cameras have been hacked on numerous occasions due to inadequate protections, confirming privacy advocates’ fears about the devices.

John Baker Orange of Alabama, the plaintiff in the case, said in the lawsuit (pdf) that his Ring security camera was recently hacked while his children were playing basketball outside of his home. Continue reading

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A Secret CBP Team is Targeting and Detaining Innocent Travelers. We’re Suing.

For too long, the government has acted as if it has carte blanche at the border. No more.

By Tarek Ismail  and Scarlet Kim. Published 12-18-2019 by ACLU

In fiscal year 2017 alone, these teams denied entry to over 1,400 individuals with valid travel documents. (Photo: CBP/flickr)

 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is deploying secret teams that target, detain, and interrogate innocent travelers. We’re suing to expose their activities.

In November 2018, three CBP officers detained Andreas Gal, a former chief technology officer at Mozilla Corporation and current Apple employee, at San Francisco International Airport after he landed from a business trip to Sweden. Andreas was offered no reason for the detention, except a receipt from a Global Entry kiosk that was marked with the letters “TTRT.” Continue reading

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‘Democrats Must Do Better’: Progressive Caucus Leaders Condemn $1.4 Trillion Spending Bill That Boosts War Budget, Funds Trump’s Wall

“The bill before us today will not stop the abuse and wrongful detention of people in custody, nor will it prevent the Trump administration from misusing federal funds to advance their horrific mass detention and deportation agenda.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-17-2019

Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.). Photo: The Beat DC

The leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus condemned the $1.4 trillion spending package that passed the House Tuesday, calling the legislation a massive giveaway to the Pentagon and a green light for President Donald Trump’s “immoral mass detention policies.”

“The bill before us today will not stop the abuse and wrongful detention of people in custody, nor will it prevent the Trump administration from misusing federal funds to advance their horrific mass detention and deportation agenda,” Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), co-chairs of the Progressive Caucus, said in a statement just ahead of the vote. Continue reading

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Israel’s West Bank settlements: 4 questions answered

A new housing project in the West Bank settlement of Naale, part of the Israeli government’s recent push to increase its presence in the disputed territory, Jan. 1, 2019.
AP Photo/Ariel Schalit

Dov Waxman, Northeastern University

Editor’s note: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Nov. 18 said that Israel’s settlements in the West Bank do not violate international law. That pleased Israeli Jews who see the territory as rightfully theirs and infuriated the Palestinians who live there and claim it as their land.

Here, a professor of Israel studies and the author of a new primer on the Israeli-Palestinian confict explains the history of the West Bank settlements – and why they’re so controversial. Continue reading

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