Tag Archives: Security

Gorbachev’s legacy is lauded by the West. The reality is more complicated

Gorbachev was heralded by the West but his political legacy feels largely irrelevant today

By Thomas Rowley  Published 8-31-2022 by openDemocracy

Former Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, Moscow, May 12, 2010 Photo: Veni/flickr/CC

It was in 1984, Mikhail Gorbachev recalled, that he met Margaret Thatcher at Chequers.

The relationship between the pair has since been romanticised, with Thatcher famously referring to Gorbachev as “a man one could do business with”.

In his recollection of the trip, Gorbachev remembered the encounter as “open and friendly”, adding: “nevertheless, our ideological differences immediately became apparent”. Continue reading

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‘Frightening Escalation’: Palestinian Rights Group Says Director Detained by Israeli Agency

A human rights attorney argued that the Biden administration’s refusal to condemn Israel’s smear of leading Palestinian organizations as terrorists “has led to this day.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 8-21-2022 by Common Dreams

Defense for Children International-Palestine said that director general Khaled Quzmar was detained by the Israeli security agency known as Shin Bet on August 21, 2022. (Photo: DCI-P/Twitter)

Human rights advocates around the world responded with alarm after one of the Palestinian groups targeted by Israeli officials announced Israel’s security agency detained its leader for a couple of hours Sunday.

Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P) said in a series of tweets that director general Khaled Quzmar was in the custody of the agency, known as Shin Bet or Shabak, “as Israeli authorities again escalate attacks” against it and other civil society groups. Continue reading

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Here’s how government documents are classified to keep sensitive information safe

Donald Trump is under federal investigation for mishandling classified documents.
Aquir

Jeffrey Fields, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Documents sought by the U.S. Justice Department from former President Donald Trump may contain material related to what The New York Times described as “some of the most highly classified programs run by the United States.” The Washington Post reported that “classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the items FBI agents sought” during a search of Trump’s Florida home on Aug. 8, 2022.

Classified information is the kind of material that the U.S. government or an agency deems sensitive enough to national security that access to it must be controlled and restricted. Continue reading

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The UN must act now to stop the crackdown in Russia

New amendments have been added to the ‘undesirables law’ as Putin looks to intimidate, silence and quash dissent

By Damelya Aitkhozhina  Published 8-2-2022 by openDemocracy

Andrey Pivovarov, former executive director of Open Russia, a pro-democracy movement | Image: Facebook / Andrey Pivovarov

For months, Russian authorities have regularly unleashed repressive announcements on Fridays. 15 July was no different.

That day, a court in the city of Krasnodar sentenced Andrey Pivovarov, the former executive director of the now-defunct pro-democracy Open Russia Civic Movement, to four years in prison on charges of leading an ‘undesirable organisation’. Continue reading

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US Lawmakers Want to Bar Using Espionage Act to Target Journalists

“When one journalist is prosecuted for doing his or her job, that’s a threat to all journalists,” said Rep. Ro Khanna.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 7-27-2022 by Common Dreams

A trio of congressional lawmakers reintroduced the Espionage Reform Act on Wednesday to prevent reporters from being prosecuted for publishing classified information—a common journalistic practice used to expose government wrongdoing.

Unveiled by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), the measure aims to narrow the scope of the 105-year-old Espionage Act and similar laws enacted during the First World War—ostensibly to protect the United States from spies but, according to critics, to criminalize anti-war dissent, resulting in the imprisonment of nearly a thousand people, including leading socialist Eugene Debs. Continue reading

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Surveillance is pervasive: Yes, you are being watched, even if no one is looking for you

Video cameras on city streets are only the most visible way your movements can be tracked.
AP Photo/Mel Evans

Peter Krapp, University of California, Irvine

The U.S. has the largest number of surveillance cameras per person in the world. Cameras are omnipresent on city streets and in hotels, restaurants, malls and offices. They’re also used to screen passengers for the Transportation Security Administration. And then there are smart doorbells and other home security cameras.

Most Americans are aware of video surveillance of public spaces. Likewise, most people know about online tracking – and want Congress to do something about it. But as a researcher who studies digital culture and secret communications, I believe that to understand how pervasive surveillance is, it’s important to recognize how physical and digital tracking work together. Continue reading

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Not One Single Republican Votes for Probe of Neo-Nazis in US Military and Police

Zero House Republicans supported a measure requiring the Pentagon and federal law enforcement agencies to publish a report on countering white supremacist and neo-Nazi activity in their ranks.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 7-14-2022 by Common Dreams

A participant in the 2021 storming of the United States capitol with Proud Boys and Three Percenter patches. Photo: Elvert Barnes/flickr/CC

Zero House Republicans on Wednesday supported a measure requiring the Pentagon and federal law enforcement agencies to publish a report on countering white supremacist and neo-Nazi activity in their ranks.

Rep. Brad Schneider’s (D-Ill.) amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2023 directing the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Defense “to publish a report that analyzes and sets out strategies to combat white supremacist and neo-Nazi activity in the uniformed services and federal law enforcement agencies” passed in a party-line 218-208 vote. Continue reading

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Calls to ‘Stop the Deal’ as US Military Contractor Moves to Buy NSO Group

“NSO Group should not be rewarded for its facilitation of human rights violations and dangerous business practices with a lucrative offer from a U.S. defense contractor,” said one campaigner.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 6-14-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: NSO Group/Facebook

Digital rights advocates sounded the alarm on Tuesday following reports that U.S. military contractor L3Harris Tech plans to acquire NSO Group, a private Israeli firm widely condemned for selling surveillance technology to repressive governments across the globe.

NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware has been used to crack down on dissidents and journalists, worsening “human rights abuses around the world, from Palestine to El Salvador to Poland,” advocacy group Access Now said in a statement urging U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration to “stop the deal.” Continue reading

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‘Endangers Us All’: Supreme Court Ruling Shields Border Agent From Excessive Force Lawsuit

The ruling leaves thousands of Border Patrol agents “absolutely immunized from liability,” said Justice Sonia Sotomayor, “no matter how egregious the misconduct or resultant injury.”

By Julia Conley   Published 6-9-2022 by Common Dreams

ERO Cross Check 2017. Photo: ICE/flickr/public domain

A ruling by the right-wing majority on the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday “will have far-reaching consequences” for people who accuse federal agents of violating their constitutional rights, the ACLU warned after the court ruled against a man who wanted to sue a U.S. Border Patrol agent who entered his property without a warrant and used excessive force.

The court ruled 6-3 in Egbert v. Boule that Congress must decide whether the plaintiff can sue the government over the alleged violation of his rights—a decision which Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her dissenting opinion threatens to block nearly all civil suits against federal agents. Continue reading

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‘Madness’: Ohio GOP Passes Bill to Arm Teachers

“We aren’t trusted with the books we choose, but somehow we’re supposed to be trusted with a gun in school?” asked one teachers’ union leader.

By Julia Conley  Published 6-2-2022 by Common Dreams

Minnesota March for Our Lives in St. Paul, Minnesota on March 24, 2018. Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/CC

With Democrats decrying the proposal as “madness,” Republican state lawmakers on Thursday pushed through House Bill 99, which would allow school districts to send teachers and other staff to school with firearms.

The legislation, which Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said he “looks forward to signing,” would let school employees carry guns to school after undergoing just 24 hours of training. Continue reading

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