Tag Archives: terrorism

Report Details Government/Corporate Surveillance of Occupy Movement

20 May

Cross Posted from Source Watch

dissentorterror

On May 20, 2013, DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy 
released the results of a year-long investigation: “Dissent or Terror:
 How the Nation’s Counter Terrorism Apparatus, In Partnership With 
Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street.”

 The report, a distillation of thousands of pages of records obtained
 from counter terrorism/law enforcement agencies, details how
 state/regional “fusion center” personnel monitored the Occupy Wall
 Street movement over the course of 2011 and 2012.

The report also examines how fusion centers and other counter terrorism entities that 
have emerged since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 have
 worked to benefit numerous corporations engaged in public-private
 intelligence sharing partnerships. 

While the report examines many instances of fusion center monitoring
 of Occupy activists nationwide, the bulk of the report 
details how counter terrorism personnel engaged in the Arizona Counter
 Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC, commonly known as the “Arizona fusion center”) monitored and otherwise surveilled citizens active in
 Occupy Phoenix, and how this surveillance benefited a number of 
corporations and banks that were subjects of Occupy Phoenix protest 
activity.


While small glimpses into the governmental monitoring of the Occupy Wall Street movement have emerged in the past, there has not been any reporting — until now — that details the breadth and depth with which the nation’s post-September 11, 2001 counter terrorism apparatus has been applied to politically engaged citizens exercising their Constitutionally-protected First Amendment rights.

REPORT Dissent or Terror: How the Nation’s ‘Counter Terrorism’ Apparatus, in Partnership with Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street

REPORT APPENDIX open records materials cited in report.

PRESS RELEASE “New Report Details How Counter Terrorism Apparatus Was Used to Monitor Occupy Movement Nationwide”

SOURCE MATERIALS almost 10,000 pages of open records materials are archived on DBA Press.

PRWATCH ARTICLE “Dissent or Terror: How Arizona’s Counter Terrorism Apparatus, in Partnership with Corporate Interests, Turned on Occupy Phoenix”

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Canada’s Aboveground Environmental Activists Seen as ‘Threat to National Security’

30 Apr

by Stephen Leahy, Cross posted from The Guardian

Environmental activists opposed to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline project protest

Monitoring of environmental activists in Canada by the country’s police and security agencies has become the “new normal”, according to a researcher who has analysed security documents released under freedom of information laws.

Security and police agencies have been increasingly conflating terrorism and extremism with peaceful citizens exercising their democratic rights to organise petitions, protest and question government policies, said Jeffrey Monaghan of the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

The RCMP, Canada’s national police force, and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) view activist activities such as blocking access to roads or buildings as “forms of attack” and depict those involved as national security threats, according to the documents.

Protests and opposition to Canada’s resource-based economy, especially oil and gas production, are now viewed as threats to national security, Monaghan said. In 2011 a Montreal, Quebec man who wrote letters opposing shale gas fracking was charged under Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Act. Documents released in January show the RCMP has been monitoring Quebec residents who oppose fracking.

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‘Nintendo Medal’ for Military Drone Pilots

6 Mar

by Russ McSpadden / Earth First! News

[The text of this work is free to share and distribute under the following Creative Commons License CC-BY-ND 3.0]

Department of Defense

Department of Defense

The U.S. has a growing corps of cyber-warriors and drone pilots who target human populations with bomb strapped drones. Now  the Pentagon is commending their all-too-real virtual combat with a new medal.

Last month, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta approved the military’s first new combat medal in nearly a century. The Distinguished Warfare Medal is bestowed to  individuals in recognition of “extraordinary contributions” to combat operations conducted from afar.

In the military hierarchy of honor, the new ‘lethal gamer’ medal is the eighth highest award behind the Medal of Honor.

Some are calling it the “Chair-borne Medal,” “the Nintendo Medal,” “the Purple Buttocks,” and the “Distant Warfare Medal,” demeaning the computer-based iWarriors because they are not exposed to imminent mortal danger like traditional combat soldiers. A growing alliance of veterans groups and politicians are lobbying the Pentagon and President Obama to downgrade the award, which is ahead of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart in terms of distinction.

Regardless of the kerfuffle over the proper accolades for the military’s deadly computer nerd-core, little argument has been put forward questioning the ethics of bestowing an honorary trinket on a group of techno-assassins that spy on and bomb suspected terrorists, American citizens, wedding parties and children from the comfort of a computer screen.

Read more on techno-monstrosities in McSpadden’s “The Early History of the Robot Wars” Part 1 and Part 2

When Republicans, Hurricanes and Anarchists Collide…

24 Aug

The coming Tempest in Tampa

by Russ McSpadden

The Dance

By now its old hat. Every four years the Republicans gather to formally nominate their candidate for president of the United States and every four years large scale street demonstrations vacillate between hippy parades of clever marching puppets and black clad anarchists lighting fires in the road and smashing bank windows. Throw into this mix the beefy riot squads of robocops bashing heads, spraying tear gas from industrial hoses, blasting sonic weapons and tossing noise and flash grenades into crowds and you’ve got a classic election year party. Its theater via politics, revolution and the status quo. Its passion and violence, and for all that can be said in disgust of this dance it beats the hell out the timid consumerist and soul freezing discourse our culture has come to deem civil.

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People’s Tribunal against the Criminalization of Protest in Ecuador

29 Jun

Written by Sofía Jarrín

During three days in the city of Cuenca, Ecuador, hundreds of representatives from several Latin American countries gathered to share experiences and strategies during the Continental Conference in Defense of Water and Mother Earth. The event took place between June 17 and 23, and was organized as an act of resistance against development projects that threaten this vital resource, Yakumama, our mother water. A letter of intention by the organizers reads, “We hope this gathering will become a permanent process of fellowship to protect water and food sovereignty, to create a new social order in harmony with nature, with justice and equity.” 

 The conference began with a visit to sites where environmental conflicts have taken place, in Cochapata and San Bartolomé, more specifically, in the southern province of Azuay, both areas affected by mining companies. The delegation was composed of the Ombudsman, representatives of national indigenous organizations, the Inter-American Platform of Human Rights, Democracy and Development (PIDHDD), Real World Radio, and a team of FoodFirst Information and Action Network (FIAN) International. There they witnessed cases of abuse of power by developers, often in complicity with state agencies, that are laying out mining projects despite clear opposition from the communities where they plan to implement them.

In Cochapata, for example, a community of about 7,800 people, there has been great resistance against the construction of a dam by the mining company Explorsur SA. Seven community leaders were accused of sabotage and terrorism for engaging in public protest, and were recently sentenced to eight years in prison. This occurred despite the fact that the Constituent Assembly had granted them amnesty in July 2008, recognizing their role as environmental defenders. Since then, all seven have been in hiding with serious financial and emotional consequences to their families. Unfortunately, like in many other cases, the courts favour private interests instead of communal decisions on how to manage land and water resources. Currently, there are more than 189 pending cases of terrorism and sabotage in Ecuador.

Back in 2007, at the beginning of his government, President Rafael Correa made a public statement setting the stage for what was to come. “Don’t believe in romantic environmentalists. Anyone who is opposed to development in this country is a terrorist,” he said about the community of Dayuma, Orellana province, who at the was time protesting the environmental devastation in their territory that resulted from oil drilling in the region. The protest was met with police repression and 25 people were detained.
For this reason, one of the main objectives of this conference was to expose these kind of cases, thus exemplifying the ongoing criminalization of protest in Ecuador. An integral part of the conference was a Court of Ethics that analyzed “the criminalization of defenders of human rights and nature.” This people’s court took place on Wednesday, June 22, with the presence a jury of four international authorities: Elsie Monge (Ecumenical Commission of Human Rights, CEDHU, Ecuador), Raul Zibechi (writer and journalist, Uruguay), Leah Isabel Alvear (poet and academic, Colombia), and Mary Hamlin (International Movement for People’s Health). They listened to more than four hours of testimonies and 17 cases of people accused of terrorism.
“Democracy can only be guaranteed when citizens are guaranteed their rights to protest and resistance,” testified Ramiro Avila, a lawyer and professor at the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar. “These laws are being used to suppress protest and should be immediately repealed.” Avila explained that the law under which the right to protest is criminalized in Ecuador dates back to the early republic, based on the Penal Code of 1920.

The current government of Ecuador, under President Correa, is driving an aggressive development program that is fueling social conflicts all around the country, mostly around mining and oil industries and the control of water sources. Unlike other countries such as Peru and Bolivia, large-scale mining is new to Ecuador and it’s expected to have severe consequences to its many ecosystems. According to the Ministry of Energy and Mines, there are 1990 registered mining concessions in the country, causing serious concerns among civil society, particularly campesinos and indigenous people. “The social leaders are speaking out to defend their human rights, but instead of welcoming them the State is criminalizing their right to protest,” said Fernando Gutierrez, the National Ombudsman.
The most prominent case is that of four top indigenous leaders, all of them charged with terrorism and sabotage: Pepe Acacho, vice president of the National Confederation of Indigenous People (CONAIE), Marlon Santi, ex-president of CONAIE; Delfín Tenesaca, president of the Kichwa Conferedation of Ecuador (ECUARUNARI); and Marco Guatemal, president of Indigenous and Campesino Federation of Imbabura (FICI). They were tried for participating in marches against the Water and Mining Acts during the ALBA Summit in Otavalo in June 2010.
“Is it a crime to defend the water? Is it a crime to defend Mother Earth?” said Carlos Perez, an indigenous leader of Azuay. “Ecuador was pioneer in recognizing the rights of nature, thus the Constitution should be above a criminal code created in times of a dictatorship.” Ecuador was the first country to recognize the Rights of Nature in its Constitution of 2008.
The jury’s decision did not make itself wait. The verdict given was resolute, not only in acknowledging that people opposed to the government’s extractive activities are currently living in an atmosphere of fear and criminalization in Ecuador, but that the State is directly responsible for promoting and maintaining this situation. “These cases confirm that there is a systematic practice to discipline social protest and thus eliminate it,” reads the verdict. “While justice is employed to criminalize the defenders of nature, it remains passive before human rights violations committed against them and against nature.”
It furthermore recommends that the President refrains from making public statements that “delegitimizes and stigmatizes” defenders of nature and human rights. To the judicial powers it recommends to comply with the amnesty granted by the Constituent Assembly in 2008 to all people prosecuted of crimes against the State under a ambiguous Penal Code that is largely considered obsolete.
Although this Court of Ethics does not have jurisdictional powers, it does hope to fill up the space created by the State’s omissions of abuses committed against peaceful social protesters and its exoneration of private companies “that operate in the country with impunity.” Correa´s government has yet to pronounce itself before the court’s decision.
Cross-posted from here

Geronimo’s Name Used in bin Laden Operation an Insult to Indigenous Resistance

6 May

The code name “Geronimo”, used during the US navy seals special operation that resulted in the reported death of Usama bin Laden, references the 19th-century Chiracahua Apache who spent his life fighting the encroachment of the states of Mexico and the US. into indigenous territory.

Geronimo (right) with a group of Apache in northern Mexico in 1886

Despite valiant bravery against the well armed militarys’ of the two imperialist nations, Geronimo was eventually captured by US forces in 1886. He and other Apache captives were transported as prisoners to Fort Pickens, in Pensacola, Florida, and his family was sent to Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Florida. Geronimo died, unable to return to his homeland, in 1909.

Upon hearing the use of Geronimo’s name as the code word for Usama bin Laden, several Native American activist groups have voiced their outrage.

The Navy Seals who killed bin Laden dispatched this message soon after: “Geronimo E-KIA.” E stands for enemy.

Time magazine reported the use of Geronimo’s name in the operation as follows:

The President sat stone-faced through much of the events. Several of his aides, however, were pacing. For long periods of time, nobody said a thing, as everyone waited for the next update. … So when word came that a helicopter had been grounded, a sign that the plan was already off course, the tension increased.

Minutes later, more word came over the transom. “Visual on Geronimo,” said a disembodied voice, using the agreed-upon code name for America’s most wanted enemy, Osama bin Laden. Word then came that Geronimo had been killed. Only when the last helicopter lifted off some minutes later did the President know that his forces had sustained no casualties.

According to CIA Director Leon Panetta:

Once those teams went into the compound, I can tell you that there was a time period of almost 20 or 25 minutes where we — you know, we really didn’t know just exactly what was going on. And there were some very tense moments as we were waiting for information. But finally, Adm. McRaven came back and said that he had picked up the word “Geronimo,” which was the code word that represented that they got bin Laden.

Comparing the legendary Apache leader to a terrorist and enemy of the United States was deeply insulting and did real damage to Native Americans of all ages, said Suzan Shown Harjo to the Associated Press. She is president of the Morning Star Institute, a Washington-based Native rights organization.

“It is shocking, really shocking, that this happened,” said Harjo, a member of the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma.

“Our names are stolen and then we’re renamed in order to control us, frankly,” she told the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

In a post in Indian Country Lise Baik King described the use of the name Geronimo as an attack on Native America.

Geronimo as a U.S. prisoner in 1905

The “bin Laden is dead” news story will make thousands of impressions on the minds of people around the globe, and the name Geronimo will now be irrevocably linked with the world’s most reviled terrorist.

Potentially the most disturbing fact is what this says to American Indian children. It equates being Native American with being hated, an enemy to the world, and someone to be hunted down and killed, and re-casts one of their heroes into a villainous role.

Time Magazine’s Swampland blog first reported the details yesterday that the target, Osama bin Laden, was code-named Geronimo, in keeping with The White House’s afternoon press conference.

But the story coming from the White House evolved by evening, with what appears to be a “re-tooling” of the message, which now states that the “mission” was code-named Geronimo.

The CNN White House blog featured a historic black and white photo of Geronimo and the headline, “Osama bin Laden codename “Geronimo”, for the duration of the afternoon at whitehouse.blogs.cnn.com. There is currently a post with the title “Osama bin Laden mission codename ‘Geronimo” (emphasis added) with a timestamp of 4:46 PM, though some commenters express outrage over the earlier title.

Tribal members from around the country are turning to social networking sites Facebook and Twitter as an outlet to express their anger and sadness at the unwelcome association. “This sucks,” said Harold Monteau, an attorney and tribal member from Rocky Boy, Montana, “A lot of people are angry about the obvious stereotypes it implies.”

“It’s another attempt to label Native Americans as terrorists,” said Paula Antoine from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. Beaver North Cloud, a JemezPueblo tribal member from Albuquerque, New Mexico expressed her frustration, saying “Damn it!!!!! Why am I not surprised, yet so disappointed beyond words.”

And someone is already selling the stupid t-shirts:

Terrorism is Dead, Long Live Eco-Terrorism

3 May

With Usama Bin Laden dead the authorities can again refocus their energy on quelling the domestic “eco-terrorist” movement in the United States leaving us at the Earth First! Journal just that much more paranoid that our Facebook page is being monitored!

And while the killing of Usama may avenge the deaths that occured on 9/11, now is not the time to celebrate. It is, rather, time to carry forward against an even more insidious terrorism and avenge the death of the vast forests, the exterminated wolves and buffalo, the poisoned dolphins that drown in oil in the gulf, the contaminated people and critters near the nuclear meltdown in Japan and the millions of people (most often indigenous people) murdered around the world for their land and the resources below their feet.

But who will do the avenging?