Archive for the ‘Multimedia’ Category

Police militarization: spending money on things we don’t need

Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 11:22 am by

Anyone who was alive 13 years ago remembers the horrific images of what happened on September 11, 2001. In the wake of the attacks on 9/11, U.S. government programs began to help local police agencies obtain military equipment. More than a decade after 9/11, we are still fighting an ideology.  Finally, lawmakers are questioning why these small town police agencies need armored and mine-resistance vehicles, automatic weapons, and camouflage clothes.

Two days ago, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Capitol Hill. Some senators were critical of the programs that give police military equipment. (more…)

Targeting racial minorities in urban areas: ‘The Newburgh Sting’

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 10:29 am by

NEWBURGHSTINGposterOn May 20, 2009, four men from the impoverished and largely African-American city of Newburgh, NY, were apprehended for an alleged terror plot. They had no history of violence or terrorist ties, but had been drawn by a Pakistani FBI informant into a carefully orchestrated scheme to bomb Jewish synagogues in a wealthy New York City suburb and fire Stinger missiles at U.S. military supply planes. Their dramatic arrest, complete with armored cars, a SWAT team and FBI aircraft, played out under the gaze of major TV outlets, ultimately resulting in 25-year prison sentences for the “Newburgh Four.”

Amidst the media frenzy surrounding the case, political figures extolled the outcome as a victory in the “war on terror” and a “textbook example of how a major investigation should be conducted,” though others believed the four men were victims of FBI entrapment. The documentary The Newburgh Sting delves deeply into this case–one of many cases across the country where people have been allegedly drawn into a plot with extreme consequences.

This is an impressive film that deals with issues of racial profiling in a unique way. Watching this is a fantastic way to educate yourselves and others on issues regarding governmental overreach as it relates to racial profiling and targeting in this country. The Newburgh Sting is currently available on HBO.

Government spying on the peace movement (Part I)

Saturday, June 28, 2014 at 12:23 pm by

The fight against government repression of free speech suffered a setback in Washington State this month, as a judicial ruling in the Panagacos vs. Towery case turned a blind eye to government infiltration of peaceful activist groups. The decision reflects not only the latest failure by the federal judiciary to do its job, but also a disturbing history dating back decades, and over five years in this particular case of constitutional abuses by intelligence and police agencies, as well as the US military.

In July 2009, activists in Olympia, WA went public with the shocking revelation that an intelligence contractor hired by the U.S. Army named John Towery had infiltrated the antiwar group Olympia Port Militarization resistance.

For almost two years, Towery — known to activists by a false name, “John Jacob” — had administered the group’s email listserv, attended meetings and demonstrations and unsuccessfully attempted to coerce young college students to commit acts of violence. Towery’s true identity was discovered by several members of the group after cop-watcher Drew Hendricks combed through thousands of pages of public records using a technique known as “cataloging”.


“The fault line is shifting”

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 5:12 pm by

Earlier this week, BORDC’s Shahid Buttar appeared on The Big Picture with host Thom Hartmann to explain what he described as a “game changer” on congressional NSA reform, and to relate how members of Congress found “an alternative outlet for their outrage” about NSA spying.

Shahid explained that:

The last thing that had happened in Congress was a very meager version of the USA Freedom Act passing the House, and that could ultimately [do] more harm than good. The amendments to the House Defense Appropriations bill last week…reflected essentially a response by members of Congress who were frustrated by the White House and the Republican leadership of the House gutting the USA Freedom Act, and finding an alternative outlet for their outrage….


Secretary of State slanders historic NSA whistleblower

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 8:04 am by

This Monday, BORDC’s Shahid Buttar appeared on the Pacifica Radio network’s Flashpoints program to respond to Secretary of State John Kerry’s confused, ironic, and self-serving statements about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Buttar noted Kerry’s complicity in mass surveillance given his voting record in the Senate, as well as his failure to maintain his own stated principles as a veteran who, at one point early in his career, testified before Congress about his opposition to the Vietnam War.


Redacted Tonight features BORDC’s Shahid Buttar on NSA spying

Monday, June 2, 2014 at 8:39 am by

This past Friday, RT premiered a new news comedy program, Redacted Tonight. The program’s inaugural episode featured BORDC’s Shahid Buttar, who explained some shortcomings of the USA Freedom Act that recently passed the House, before later encouraging his interviewer’s lyrical creativity.

The Surveillance State and the state of surveillance: What activism has to learn from art

Friday, May 30, 2014 at 10:12 am by

The “Surveillance State” is a term civil libertarians often invoke, and when they do they mean it literally. The Surveillance State is a reference to the actual surveillance activities of a formally organized governmental state. But the Surveillance State is more than a product of policies and protocols crafted by bureaucrats in shadowy rooms. The resulting condition of surveillance has given rise to new forms of artistic expression that can help political activists learn new ways to talk about civil liberties and find new communities to engage with.

For example, this June 5th will be the first anniversary of Edward Snowden’s historic revelations about the extent of NSA dragnet surveillance and the occasion is being celebrated with the Reset The Net online event. Reset The Net is the product of frequent BORDC collaborator Fight For The Future and it is a fantastic time to think creatively about resistance to the surveillance state beyond business-as-usual political organizing. June 5th is not just an opportunity for action, it is also an occasion to reflect on why this work must be done and how we are all personally affected.


BORDC’s Shahid Buttar explains bait & switch on NSA spying

Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 10:19 am by

On Thursday, May 22, BORDC’s Shahid Buttar appeared on RT America’s evening news program to explain how the bipartisan Washington establishment co-opted the USA FREEDOM Act. The bill had passed two House committees seeking to reform NSA surveillance before the House leadership gutted it with White House support in a back room deal on Wednesday.

He explained that:

We don’t yet know how broadly the NSA is spying on the American people. We only have glimpses into the tips of the iceberg…. There has been no meaningful investigation into what is actually happening. Congress has been legislating in the dark for over a decade, and…continue[s] to do so, now, even after a year of establishing that it’s been getting lied to for the last ten years…. Congress should be much more skeptical of the agencies.

When the NSA & universities collaborate: a discussion with leading privacy experts at Johns Hopkins University

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 10:17 am by

bca8e39ceOn Tuesday, April 15, BORDC executive director, Shahid Buttar, spoke on a panel with privacy experts, Christopher Soghoian, ACLU Technologist, Matt Green and Joel Andreas, Johns Hopkins University professors, to discuss ways the intelligence community has begun to co-opt our higher education system. Each year the NSA gives millions of dollars to universities around the country in the form of scholarships, research grants, training, technology, and promises of jobs to students. This degree of influence and the bias it creates is concerning, particularly in the way the issues of mass surveillance is addressed and responded to on these campuses. Below is video from the evening’s discussion.

Cities around the country say: fusion centers are wasteful, fraudulent, and ineffective

Friday, April 11, 2014 at 12:43 pm by

Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 10.48.20 PMThursday, April 10, 2014 was a National Day of Action against Fusion Centers. Diverse, multiracial grassroots coalitions from around the country held rallies, press conferences, and creative actions to challenges civil liberties by fusion centers, which coordinate the surveillance activities of local police alongside federal agencies like the NSA and FBI. Fusion centers have operated at unknown cost, failed to meaningfully serve a public benefit, and drawn critics including Senators across the partisan spectrum, the ACLU, environmentalists, Muslim Americans, peace activists, and Ron Paul supporters.

Participating cities in yesterday’s action included: Boston, Charlotte, Dallas, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, and Washington DC. Below the jump are quotes from organizers, as well as photos and videos from several of the sites.