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[l] at 8/15/22 8:52am
This article was originally published at our reader-supported newsletter, The Dissenter. Become an annual paid subscriber to help us continue our independent journalism. A group of journalists and lawyers, who visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange while he was living under political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy, sued the CIA and former CIA director Mike Pompeo. They allege that the agency under Pompeo spied on them in violation of their privacy rights. Undercover Global S.L., a private security company in Spain, and the company’s director David Morales are also named as defendants. UC Global ramped up surveillance against Assange and shared audio and video footage from the embassy with “American intelligence.” “The United States Constitution shields American citizens from US government overreach even when the activities take place in a foreign embassy in a foreign country. Visitors who are lawyers, journalists and doctors frequently carry confidential information in their devices,” declared Richard Roth, who is the lead attorney representing the plaintiffs. “They had a reasonable expectation that the security guards at the Ecuadorian embassy in London would not be US government spies charged with delivering copies of their electronics to the CIA,” Roth added. Two of the plaintiffs are attorneys who have represented Assange—Margaret Rather Kunstler, a civil rights activist and human rights attorney, and Deborah Hrbek, a media lawyer. The other two plaintiffs are journalists Charles Glass and John Goetz, who worked for Der Spiegel when the German media organization first partnered with WikiLeaks to publish documents on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. The lawsuit comes around two months after United Kingdom Home Secretary Priti Patel approved the US extradition request against Assange. His legal team has submitted two separate appeals in the UK courts, yet it is increasingly evident that Assange could be flown to the US to face Espionage Act charges that civil liberties, human rights, and press freedom organizations around the world have condemned. According to the complaint [PDF] filed in a US court in the Southern District of New York, Glass, Goetz, Hrbek, and Kunstler, like all visitors, were required to “surrender” their electronic devices to UC Global employees hired by Ecuador to provide security for the embassy. What they did not know is that UC Global “copied the information stored on the devices” and allegedly shared the information with the CIA. Pompeo allegedly authorized and approved the action. Security required plaintiffs to leave their devices with them, which contained “confidential and privileged information about their sources or clients. This information was copied and allegedly shared with the CIA. It is estimated that “well over 100 American citizens who visited Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy” had their privacy rights violated. This includes attorneys who were there to represent Assange, journalists who traveled to interview him, and even doctors who came to the embassy to assess and treat his deteriorating health. Their privileged communications stored on electronic devices were compromised. The CIA-backed spying operation began around January 2017 and lasted until UC Global’s contract was terminated around April 2018. By that time, the Justice Department under President Donald Trump already had a sealed indictment against Assange. Pompeo allegedly approved the placement of hidden microphones in new cameras at the embassy. He allegedly approved bugging the embassy with hidden microphones. He allegedly signed off on a plan to allow the CIA to “observe and listen to Assange’s daily activities at the embassy.” Also, the complaint claims Pompeo approved the copying of visitors’ passports, “including pages with stamps and visas.” He ensured that all “computers, laptops, mobile phones, recording devices, and other electronics brought into the embassy,” were “seized, dismantled, imaged, photographed, and digitized.” This included the collection of IMEI and SIM codes from visitors’ phones. Morales did not speak very good English, yet as further evidence that UC Global was working for the CIA, the complaint notes that UC Global employees were given “written technology instructions” for live streaming and audio associated with the surveillance” that were in “perfect English.” There was an “external streaming access point” for “American intelligence” sent from the “Venetian Hotel,” or the Las Vegas Sands, the complaint asserts. Around January 2017, Morales traveled to the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor (SHOT) convention at Las Vegas Sands. The convention was an expo for the private security industry. Security personnel for Las Vegas Sands spoke with Morales and reportedly recruited Morales to spy on Assange for the CIA. When Morales returned to Spain, at least one whistleblower from UC Global has said Morales told employees the company was now “in the big league,” and they would be working for the “dark side.” He indicated “the Americans” would help UC Global secure major contracts throughout the world. The complaint says former UC Global employees believe the “deal included selling information obtained through the illegal surveillance of Assange to the CIA.” Additionally, the complaint claims that CIA handlers in the US were collecting recordings from Morales either through delivery to Las Vegas, Washington, DC, or New York or through transfers on an FTP server at UC Global offices that gave CIA personnel external access to the material.Tip Jar Reporting from the Spanish newspaper El País previously corroborated many of the claims in the complaint. Their journalism was based upon primary source materials shared with them by whistleblowing UC Global employees. Some of these revelations were part of Assange’s challenge to the US extradition request, but a UK magistrates’ court dismissed the allegations as irrelevant to the indictment from the US Justice Department. In September 2021, Yahoo! News published a bombshell report on “secret war plans” against Assange that involved proposals for kidnapping and assassinating Assange after Pompeo became obsessed with the WikiLeaks founder following the media organization’s publication of CIA hacking materials that became known as the “Vault 7” materials. Pompeo labeled the organization a “non-state hostile intelligence agency,” and in April 2017, he made it the focus of his first speech as CIA director. “The one thing [current] whistleblowers don’t need is a publisher,” since the internet already enables enough sharing of information. During the speech, Pompeo called Assange a “coward,” a “fraud,” and a “narcissist.” He pledged to pursue a “long term” campaign to neutralize WikiLeaks. “Assange remained in the embassy in London for 7 years, believing he would face extradition to the US if he left the building,” stated Deborah Hrbek. “He was pilloried as a paranoid narcissist for this belief. As it turns out, he was right.” The lawsuit is a Bivens action, which stems from a precedent-setting case that established the ability of US citizens to sue US government officials. US courts have been historically reluctant to allow plaintiffs to pursue damages, especially if it involves sensitive national security or foreign policy matters. The post CIA, Pompeo Sued For Allegedly Spying On US Attorneys And Journalists Who Met With Assange appeared first on Shadowproof.

[Category: Dissenter Featured, Latest News, The Dissenter, CIA, Julian Assange, Mike Pompeo, WikiLeaks]

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[l] at 8/11/22 1:41pm
This article was funded by paid subscribers of The Dissenter Newsletter. Become an annual paid subscriber to help us continue our independent journalism.Mary McCord, who was the chief of the United States Justice Department’s national security division under President Barack Obama, said that former President Donald Trump may have violated the Espionage Act. On the “Skullduggery” podcast from Yahoo! News, McCord contended that provisions in the World War 1-era law, which has been applied to the mishandling of classified information, potentially covers what Trump allegedly did—removing documents from their proper place, losing or stealing information, and other acts of gross negligence.But the Espionage Act is part of the two-tiered US justice system. Only lower-level federal government employees or contractors are punished with Espionage Act charges. High-ranking officials are able to use their status to avoid charges that would turn them into convicted felons.It is, however, possible that the FBI invoked provisions of the Espionage Act to secure a warrant to search Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and reclaim control of classified documents.A grand jury subpoena for sensitive documents was issued to Trump in the spring, according to NBC News. The subpoena related to documents that Trumps legal team discussed with Justice Department officials around that same time. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) coordinated with Trump representatives in 2021, and in January 2022, 15 boxes were transferred to the National Archives. Some of the records contained classified information so NARA contacted the Justice Department [PDF]. FBI agents raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home on August 8, and they reportedly retrieved at least 10 boxes of documents. Some of those files allegedly contain classified information. The fact that those boxes were not turned over when Trump representatives coordinated with NARA likely factored into the FBI’s decision to deploy agents to reclaim the documents. The Justice Department routinely investigates and prosecutes US government employees and contractors who take classified information and try to keep the records in their home. Such individuals are typically charged with “unauthorized possession” or the “willful retention” of “national defense information.” On May 18, 2021, Kendra Kingsbury, a 48 year-old FBI intelligence analyst who had a top secret security clearance, was charged [PDF] with willfully retaining national defense information in violation of the Espionage Act. Between June 2004 and December 2017, she allegedly took documents on FBI counterterrorism operations as well as CIA documents on al Qaida in Africa, which she kept at her home in Dodge City, Kansas.CIA contractor Reynaldo Regis pled guilty to retaining classified information on May 11, 2018. He was accused of copying classified information into personal notebooks. FBI agents found “approximately 60 notebooks containing classified information” when they searched his Maryland home. Harold Martin was a Defense Department contractor, who was similarly charged with violating the Espionage Act on February 8, 2017 [PDF]. During the span of two decades, Martin took digital and hard copies of NSA documents, US Cyber Command documents, and a CIA document on foreign intelligence collection. They were kept in his Maryland home and his vehicle.Mohan Nirala pled guilty on September 16, 2016, to willfully retaining national defense information and violating the Espionage Act. He was an imagery scientist at the US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). FBI agents found more than 20 secret and top secret documents at his home in Maryland. Working as a computer systems administrator at Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras, Chris Glenn faced Espionage Act charges in 2014 after the FBI found that he had encrypted files from the Defense Department and US Southern Command, which he kept on an “internet-accessible network storage device located in his residence in Honduras.” Mark Unkenholz was an NSA employee in Maryland, who was part of an office that worked with industry partners. On March 29, 2022, he was accused of willfully retaining national defense information and violating the Espionage Act in his personal email account. As an NSA employee, Unkenholz did not have physical copies of the records in his home. He possessed the files by having the documents in his personal email, and the FBI learned of the retention because he sent the documents to a person at a company who was not authorized to receive the information. (Note: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had classified information on her private email server that created an “increased risk of unauthorized disclosure.”) Then there is the case of the “collector of rare documents.” In 2012, Secrecy News reported that James Hitselberger, a Navy contract linguist in Bahrain, was charged with violating the Espionage Act because he had a habit of taking classified documents to his “living quarters” to read. The Hoover Institution at Stanford University had a Hitselberger collection that contained “political posters and leaflets that he gathered in pre-revolutionary Iran.” FBI agents uncovered classified documents in Hitselberger’s possession as well as his collection at the Hoover Institution. In a rare event, David Petraeus, who was a CIA director and Pentagon chief, faced accusations of unlawfully retaining national defense information when he kept eight “Black Books” in his home [PDF]. The books contained highly classified information with the “identities of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities and mechanisms, diplomatic discussions, quotes and deliberative discussions from high-level National Security Council meetings,” and notes from discussions with President Barack Obama. Petraeus later shared the Black Books with Paula Broadwell, who he had an affair with while she was writing a biography, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus. Because Petraeus was a former high-ranking official and a revered US military general in Washington, his attorneys were able to convince the Justice Department to not charge him with violating the Espionage Act. Petraeus was charged in 2015 with the misdemeanor offense of “unauthorized removal and retention of classified material,” which is part of the criminal code for public officers and employees. None of the individuals charged with retaining or possessing information unlawfully had the same influence or power as Petraeus or Trump. They were lower class people that were unable to stop the Justice Department from treating them like spies.Trump’s legal team should be able to learn from Petraeus’ legal team and negotiate with Justice Department behind closed doors so he is not charged with violating the Espionage Act (if the Justice Department under Attorney General Merrick Garland is even prepared to charge him with a crime). Therefore, it will be stunning if the Justice Department pursues an Espionage Act prosecution. No matter what the FBI uncovers and accuses Trump of doing with classified documents, he is still a former US president. And regardless of the ultimate outcome, the documents that were at Mar-a-Lago belong to the public, not Donald Trump. The post Justice Department Unlikely To Charge Trump With Violating The Espionage Act appeared first on Shadowproof.

[Category: Latest News, The Dissenter, Donald Trump, Espionage Act, Justice Department, The Dissenter Newsletter]

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[l] at 8/10/22 9:06am
Originally published at Ongoing History of Protest MusicIn 2021, Mádé Kuti built upon the legacy of his father Femi and legendary grandfather Fela withthe release of his debut album For(e)ward. The album was released alongside Femi’s eleventh full-length album Stop The Hate as part of the aptly titled double album Legacy +. After completion of a United States tour with his father, Mádé released his latest single No More Wars, featuring powerhouse vocals and expert backing from his newly formed band The Movement.The tune promotes the need to re-evaluate values and to make a conscious effort to pursue peace, and the stirring Afrobeat anthem works on both a personal and political level. ‘No More Wars’ is entirely about temper, control, and focus, Mádé said. It’s about experiences I’ve had that taught me to reflect intentionally before I resort to violent acts.The lyrics are inspired by my father’s consistency in following his path despite dealing with an overwhelming amount of harsh, untrue, and deliberately cruel people inside and outside of his circle, Mádé added.We live in a world that demands righteous indignation, but there is a danger that we may be consumed by anger. When that danger arises, we can remind ourselves of the lyrical refrain that recommends we how to deal with negative energy.So when dem come with dem trouble All the negativity dem sabi [they know]So when dem come with dem energyClose your ears and sing.Listen to Mádé Kutis No More Wars: The post Protest Song Of The Week: No More Wars By Mádé Kuti appeared first on Shadowproof.

[Category: Dissenter Featured, Latest News, The Dissenter, The Protest Music Project]

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[l] at 8/9/22 8:41am
CNN host Michael Smerconish interviewed Roger Waters about his This Is Not A Drill concert tour. By comparing the 7-minute edited version that aired to the 28-minute uncut version, which Smerconish posted, it is evident that producers used the interview to try and paint Waters as a political madman to discredit the messages in his show.Shadowproofs Kevin Gosztola put together this video that shows what made the CNN edit a classic example of framing dissent in a manner that was intended to strip Waters of any credibility. The beginning features the Bravery of Being Out of Range, which Gosztola recorded during Waters performance in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Waters used the song from his 1992 album Amused To Death to indict every US president since President Ronald Reagan, who has been responsible for death and destruction as an overseer of a war machine. But instead of learning Waters is commenting on an entire system, you may think Waters has only singled out President Joe Biden if you watched CNN.As Waters shares his opinion about human rights, Taiwan and China, and the war in Ukraine, Smerconish no longer is simply a Pink Floyd fan talking to Waters. Smerconish is acting as a cop, who is there to call out anything Waters says that does not fit into the cable news networks preferred narratives. The post CNNs Attempt To Police Roger Waters And His This Is Not A Drill Show appeared first on Shadowproof.

[Category: Dissenter Featured, Latest News, The Dissenter, The Protest Music Project, CNN, Dissent, Protest Music Project, Roger Waters]

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[l] at 8/2/22 7:44am
Shadowproof was launched seven years ago. With many crises facing our world, we are proud to still be publishing independent journalism. Since our last birthday, Shadowproof has published several articles from freelance journalists at our website and as part of The Dissenter, our newsletter focused on whistleblower stories and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assanges case. Thanks in part to the Marvel Cooke Fellowship, we were able to pay writers higher amounts than in previous years. This was made possible by members and donors, who have stepped up to give money in a precarious time, and by journalists, who contributed work and believed we could provide them with a solid platform. Our members and donors have more or less stuck by us despite the waves of economic despair and instability sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation, and the US-Russia proxy war in Ukraine. Shadowproof managing editor Kevin Gosztola continued his coverage of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assanges case and reported on an appeal hearing in the United Kingdom in October 2021. He put out reports when the UK Supreme Court refused to hear Assanges appeal, when the UK judiciary approved the United States governments extradition request, and when Home Office Secretary Priti Patel gave extradition her stamp of approval. While maintaining The Dissenter Newsletter, Kevin wrote his book, Guilty of Journalism: The Political Case Against Julian Assange, which is scheduled for release from Censored Press and Seven Stories Press in February 2023. It is a thorough analysis of the US governments case against Assange and the implications for press freedom that will serve as a guide if and when Assange is brought to the US for trial.  Beyond Prisons, which Shadowproof publishing editor Brian Nam-Sonenstein co-hosts, entered its fifth year of publication. The show is currently exploring community-based violence interventions, such as the Creative Interventions Toolkit [PDF].  Shadowproof proudly continued the Marvel Cooke journalism fellowship, which Brian organizes. In 2021, we published eight articles including contributions from two incarcerated reporters at California’s San Quentin prison: Juan Moreno Haines and Rahsaan Thomas.  This year, with the continued generous financial backing of Mariame Kaba and additional donations from our readers, we were able to offer larger fellowships at $2000 each. We are working with a larger group of incarcerated journalists and artists than we did in 2021. We just published our first fellowship piece of the second round by Vanessa Taylor on how abolitionist organizers see counterterrorism as a response to white supremacy. The project unfortunately has faced numerous setbacks and delays due to repression, outbreaks of COVID and other infectious illnesses, and mail censorship in prisons.  Though we may have to delay publication for work from incarcerated fellows, we remain patient and persistent in our commitment to work through it and support them as best we can in our collaboration. C.J. Baker, who curates a website called “Ongoing History Of Protest Songs,” kept up his bi-weekly posts featuring the latest protest songs. What we do is possible because of Shadowproof members and donors. The more recurring monthly contributions we receive, the more independent journalism we can produce. It helps us pay journalists more, and were able to expand our work. We invite readers to become Shadowproof members by donating here. If you would like something in return for your generosity, you can subscribe to The Dissenter Newsletter. (To celebrate, we have a birthday special that will allow you to take $15 off a year subscription.) * Tens of thousands of media jobs were lost since the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020. The impact of the past two years on freelance journalists is incalculable—primarily because layoffs announced by news organizations typically do not include contractors or freelancers. At Shadowproof, we do our best to push back against a media culture that devalues freelance journalists. Every freelance journalist who comes to us with a pitch for a story sets the amount that they would like to be paid, and then we negotiate from there. We do not take a week, a month, or longer to pay journalists for their work. Our standard is to pay them the day that their work appears on our site.  Many sites are confined to their web address, but we are using Shadowproof as a base of operations that can support the development and distribution of a newsletter, podcasts, and this year, were increasing the number of livestreams and content we publish to the Shadowproof YouTube channel.    Every dollar we raise increases the possibilities for what we can do with Shadowproof. It will not be long before we are in the throes of another presidential election cycle. Yet Shadowproof will remain principled and stick to our coverage of issues and movements that are fighting for environmental, economic, racial, and social justice. We will stay focused on struggles, like the grassroots campaigns to defund the police, abolish the prison industrial-complex, and decriminalize abortion. If the overturning of Roe taught us anything, it is how Democrats utterly failed us. They promised for at least the last 15 years that if we voted for them they would protect women from losing their right to reproductive health care. But when they had the power to codify that right into law under President Barack Obama, they did nothing.  President Donald Trump energized right-wing forces in the United States. Trumps bungling of the COVID-19 pandemic allowed Joe Biden to defeat Trump in 2020, and Democrats gained control of the White House and Congress. Yet after once again demanding that vulnerable communities vote for them if they wanted to be protected, Democrats let a cold-blooded minority rule.  Biden and the Democrats did little-to-nothing to protect citizens rights and respond to the Republican onslaught. That teaches us to have limited faith in electoralism. What has more chance of delivering gains for people in dire need is direct and open confrontation with those in power. Movements that make demands, block government operations, and wage public demonstrations that refuse to go home when told to disperse are more likely to beat back creeping fascism. We have us, and the connections we forge, and only we can save us from the existential threats barreling down upon our communities—climate catastrophe, wars for empire, nuclear war, etc. Thank you again for believing in what we do at Shadowproof. Heres to another year of independent journalism. Kevin Gosztola, Managing EditorBrian Nam-Sonenstein, Publishing Editor * 10 Most-Read Articles On Shadowproof In Our Sixth Year Documents Reveal How Pentagon Shaped ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Into A Recruitment And PR Vehicle by Tom Secker Jailhouse Lawyers Take On COVID-19 Where Prisons Won’t by Lucia Geng CIA Funded Experiments On Danish Orphans For Decades by Kit Klarenberg Massachusetts Chief of Police Sends Racist Emails to Town Officials, Keeps Job by Eoin Higgins Pentagon And Its Overseers Suppressed Whistleblowers Who Challenged Massacre In Syria Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale Imprisoned In Communications Management Unit Designed For Terrorists British Officials Spread Moscow Coup Plot Disinformation For United States by Kit Klarenberg Abolishing Police Surveillance In NYC: Will Transparency Help Or Make It Harder? by Rebecca Chowdhury In Riverside County Jails, Organizing Against Repressive Conditions Takes Many Forms by James Anderson Despite Worsening Opioid Crisis, Many Jails And Prisons Remain Opposed To Treatment Medications by Daniel Moritz Rabson 5 Most-Read Articles From The Dissenter Newsletter British High Court Expands US Appeal In Assange Case 9/11 Cinema: The Antiwar Film Disney Tried To Suppress Whistleblower Craig Murray On Being Imprisoned Over Blog Posts by Mohamed Elmaazi CIA Funded Experiments On Danish Orphans For Decades by Kit Klarenberg UK Government Approves Request To Send Assange To US For Trial The post Shadowproofs Seventh Birthday: Looking Back On Another Year appeared first on Shadowproof.

[Category: Announcements, Latest News]

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[l] at 8/1/22 5:51pm
The Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States raided the offices and homes of members of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) and the International Peoples Democratic Uhuru Movement.At 5 am in the morning on July 29, FBI agents in St. Louis, Missouri, targeted the Uhuru Solidarity Center and the homes of 80 year-old APSP founder Omali Yeshitela and the African People’s Solidarity Committee chair Penny Hess. FBI agents simultaneously busted into the Uhuru House and the group’s radio station Black Power 96.3 LFM in St. Petersburg, Florida.FBI agents told Yeshitela, the founder of the APSP, that they raided his home in north St. Louis because they had indicted a Russian national named Aleksandr Ionov.Ionov is a Moscow resident who the U.S. Justice Department claims engaged in a campaign to “influence” U.S. political groups and “interfere” in US elections. He founded a group called the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia that hosted international solidarity conferences, which Yeshitela attended.No one allegedly connected to Ionov was charged with a crime nor were they issued a grand jury subpoena.Members of the Uhuru Movement and various leaders of other solidarity groups condemned the FBI raids as a continuation of the history of attacks on Black activists, like Fred Hampton, Mark Clark, and Marcus Garvey, as part of COINTELPRO under FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Armed FBI Agents Deploy A Drone And Flash-Bang Grenades Uhuru is the Swahili word for freedom or independence, and the Uhuru Movement was founded 50 years ago to complete the Black revolution of the 1960s. Its organizers are involved in the global struggle against white colonialism in the US that goes back centuries. They engage in campaigns for reparations for slavery and education and community development in areas impacted by structural racism.  As Yeshitela recalled, he was in his home with his wife and organizer Ona Yeshitela, when FBI agents alerted them to their presence with a loudspeaker. They were instructed to come out of their home with their hands up and nothing in their hands.While talking through the loudspeaker, FBI agents set off flash-bang grenades in the neighborhood. They broke a window to the basement.Omari led the way down the stairs with his wife following him, and as Ona shared, “This big ol’ drone met me coming down the stairs, like it’s going to attack me.”“When I get outside, what I see is that there was an armored vehicle in front of the house. There are combat-clad FBI agents all over the place carrying automatic weapons. They not only are in front of the house. They are occupying the porch and the yard of the neighbors next door. And this is a really poor and economically depressed community what we live in,” Omari said.FBI agents handcuffed and detained Omari and Ona. Both were instructed to sit on a curb, but they refused.Omari was then told that they apparently had a search warrant related to the indictment of a Russian national and somehow his name and his wife’s name were linked to this person. But FBI agents would not show him a search warrant.It became clear to Omari that the FBI agents did not intend to arrest him, and this was all a “big show” for those in the community who were watching. Ransacking The Uhuru House And The Groups Solidarity Center Omari told the press the FBI agents seized their cellphones and took all of their devices, computers, and other electronics in their home. They also put tape over a doorbell security camera so his neighbors would not have footage of the raid.  FBI agents used a battering ram to bust down the door of the Uhuru House, which is the movement’s office in St. Petersburg, and Omari claimed a 40-year archive on the movement was seized by agents.A report from the Associated Press indicated, “Akile Anai, who describes herself as director of agitation and propaganda for the African People’s Socialist Party, said agents searched her car and took her cellphone and laptop computer on Friday in addition to raiding the Uhuru House.”The African People’s Solidarity Committee operates out of the solidarity center in south St. Louis. It is the white arm of the Uhuru Movement that goes “behind enemy lines” to enlist support for black liberation in white communities. They have organized for decades. “[The FBI] took a battering ram. They also had drones,” when they raided the solidarity center and an apartment above the center, according to Penny Hess, the white chair of the African People’s Solidarity Committee. Jesse Nevelsky is the white national chair of the Uhuru Movement, and he lives with his partner in the apartment above the solidarity center. He said local and county police helped the FBI conduct the raid.  The FBI put Nevelsky and his partner, who also works for the organization, in handcuffs and moved them out of the building while six or seven FBI agents pointed assault rifles at them.“Then they took five and a half to six hours to ransack both the solidarity center and the apartment upstairs and took computers, cellphones, hard drives, files, notebooks, and a whole long list of things,” Nevelsky shared.  All The Makings Of A Witch Hunt On September 24, 2010, the FBI raided the homes of 23 antiwar, labor, and international solidarity activists in Chicago, Minneapolis, and other parts of the Midwest. They were issued grand jury subpoenas and informed they were under investigation for “materially supporting” foreign terrorist organizations.The FBI targeted the activists for their solidarity work with organizers in Colombia and Palestine. They later learned an undercover FBI agent infiltrated their group and attempted to entrap them. None were ever charged with any crimes. Like the raids against the Uhuru Movement, FBI agents seized notebooks, family photos, membership lists for antiwar groups, and other political documents. The activists formed the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, and along with the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression in Chicago, they put out a statement condemning the latest FBI raids. “We oppose all efforts by the U.S. government to target activists in any progressive movement in this country. We call for an end to investigations, political harassment, and threats against activists and our movements,” the groups declared.  “The DOJ is alleging that those raided collaborated with a ‘Russian asset’ to spread ‘Russian propaganda.’ At a time when the US is engaged in an imperialist proxy war with Russia in the Ukraine, these raids have all the makings of a witch hunt.”The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) also put out a statement against the FBI’s “repression and intimidation tactics.”“BAP believes that these raids continue the history of state repression directed against Black people in the U.S.,” the group asserted. “This repression now occurs under the guise of opposing ‘adversary’ nations but regardless of how these actions are characterized, Black people still bear the brunt of surveillance and police violence.”“The APSP has the right to freely associate with people around the world, to hold any political beliefs it may choose, and to express them without fear of intimidation, persecution, or prosecution,” BAP proclaimed. US Justice Department Alleges Russian National Directed Uhuru Movement APSP founder Omari Yeshitela attended a conference hosted by Aleksandr Ionov’s organization on September 20, 2015, that was called “A Dialogue of Nations: the Right to Self-Determination and the Construction of a Multipolar World.”Yeshitela and other Uhuru Movement members are labeled as unindicted co-conspirators in the indictment against Ionov. Particularly, it accuses Yeshitela of entering into a partnership with Ionov while knowing he was an agent of the Russian government. One of the other unindicted co-conspirators in the indictment is Louis J. Marinelli, who was the founder of CalExit, a right-wing campaign in the style of Brexit that called for California to secede from the United States. Marinelli, who is white, was previously linked to the Russian government in US news media reports, but the FBI did not raid Marinellis home or the homes of any individuals linked to the secession campaign.The indictment maintains that Ionov worked with FSB or Russian intelligence officers to “use members of U.S. political groups as foreign agents of Russia within the United States.” He allegedly “recruited members of various political groups within the United States and other countries, including Ukraine, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, to attend conferences in Russia.” “The purpose of the conferences was to encourage the participating groups to advocate for separating from their home countries,” the indictment further contends. “At these conferences, Ionov entered into partnership with some of the U.S. separatist groups, including groups from Florida and California.”“Thereafter, Ionov exercised direction or control over these groups on behalf of the FSB. Ionov also monitored and regularly reported on their activities to the FSB.”But Yeshitela repeatedly stated that he had not received any Russian money, and Ionov never influenced the agenda of the Uhuru Movement. “We’re 50 years old. The Russians didn’t create us.”Kalambayi Andenet, who is the international president of the International Peoples Democratic Uhuru Movement, was even more pointed in her statement. “Don’t insult our intelligence by saying Russia, China, or anyone will lead the African working class to liberation. The African working class will lead our own struggle.”  Earlier this year, after Russia deployed its military forces and launched attacks in Ukraine, Yeshitela said he participated in a webinar with Ionov that was titled, “Ain’t No Russian Ever Called Me A Ni**er.” The post FBI Targets Black Liberation Activists, Claims Russia Used Them As Pawns To Spread Propaganda  appeared first on Shadowproof.

[Category: Dissenter Featured, Latest News, The Dissenter, FBI, FBI Raids, Russiagate]

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[l] at 7/25/22 5:24am
This article was funded by the Marvel Cooke Fellowship. Read more about this reporting project and make a contribution to fund our fellowship budget. In May, a gunman killed ten Black people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and livestreamed the event on Twitch. While that by itself was horrific, many were further disturbed upon learning that the shooter’s manifesto made references to memes and online platforms where he spent most of his time. It didn’t take long for public figures to demand law enforcement target the online pipeline that “radicalized” him.  It may seem like a win for officials to investigate Twitch, 4chan, Discord, and similar platforms. But this approach—spying on people online in search for ‘pathways to radicalization’—draws from counter-extremism logics built on the ongoing surveillance of oppressed communities worldwide. Amidst rising right-wing mass shootings in the United States, increased funding of counter-extremism, supposedly in this case to prevent white supremacist violence, represents a double-edged sword for communities of color who are most often the target of these programs.  Counter-extremism is shaping the response to mass shootings like the one in Buffalo. Los Angeles, for example, approved a $250,000 grant to the city’s police earlier this year, provided by the Department of Homeland Security’s Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention program. The grant will help fund the Providing Alternatives to Hinder Extremism (PATHE) program, an intervention-based program claiming to help the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) identify individuals on pathways to extremism.  PATHE is touted by media and police as an efficatious way to combat so-called “domestic terrorism.” Yet the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition (SLAPD), a community-driven abolitionist organization, condemns it as a “vehicle for LAPD to racially profile youth of color with pseudoscientific ‘risk assessments.’” In Los Angeles, SLAPD, alongside organizations like Vigilant Love, the Palestinian Youth Movement, and others, have led the charge against the LAPD’s counter-extremism programming for years.  SLAPD told Shadowproof by email that, in 2018, organizers blocked a $425,000 grant to expand the city’s precursor to PATHE. However, city councilors and police “ignored the wishes of Angelenos” three years later, SLAPD said, “in order to prioritize the budget of the LAPD over the well-being of our youth.” PATHE’s expansion eventually came to fruition in 2021 on the tail end of another betrayal, this time on the national level.  In June of that year, President Joe Biden not only abandoned campaign promises to end the Trump administration’s Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention program (TVTP)—a resurrection of the Obama-era Countering Violent Extremism (CVE)—but effectively recreated TVTP with the new Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3).  Today, TVTP lives on as a grant program managed by CP3 and is described as the “only federal grant program dedicated to enhancing the capabilities of local communities to prevent targeted violence and terrorism.” CP3 distributed $20 million in grants nationwide through TVTP in 2021, including the $250,000 grant for PATHE in Los Angeles.  Organizers like those working with SLAPD are urging abolitionists nationwide to explicitly take up and confront the ever-expanding surveillance state.  Abolition Beyond Police Shootings Abolition was shoved into popular consciousness following the protest summer of 2020. However, media coverage often hyper-focuses on police killings, failing to make important connections as the U.S. pours millions into dangerous counter-extremism programming.  “Surveillance isn’t harmful merely because it’s used by police,” SLAPD wrote. “Intent to harm is an essential part of surveillance and [it] precedes the creation of the police as a distinct institution in North America.” In the U.S., surveillance has taken different forms at different times, from the early development of biometric identification with slave passes to lantern laws demanding Black, mixed-race, and Indigenous people carry lanterns after sunset if not accompanied by a white person. No matter how it presents itself, though, surveillance is fundamentally “real-time social control” facilitated by a number of organizations.  Through counter-extremism, the U.S. government uses debunked “radicalization” theories to target Muslims — and often Black Muslim youth — and communities of color with increased policing and surveillance. Exported by the United Kingdom’s Prevent, counter-extremism strategies like CVE borrow the underlying assumption that there is an identifiable pathway to “extremism” requiring early intervention through not only watching communities but selectively funding non-profit programming, universities, and more. SLAPD writes that the federal government uses counter-extremism to “export policing and surveillance to social workers, teachers, clergy, community members, and nonprofits.” For example, TVTP does not limit its funding to law enforcement alone. Vigilant Love’s #ServicesNotSurveillance campaign highlights counter-extremism’s encroachment into “therapy, social work, school counseling, and other related spaces.” Cultural productions have been targeted as well: in 2021, DHS provided $750,000 to the University of Texas at El Paso and $400,000 to Music in Common’s Black Legacy Project. Surveillance is not necessarily about restricting only the actions and movements of targeted communities, but their thoughts, too.  While counter-extremism programs like PATHE masquerade as supportive interventions into communities, SLAPD warned “they greatly expand the power of the police state, which is the primary agent of white supremacy and violence in our lives.”  As a domestic expansion of the so-called War on Terror, counter-extremism programming is part of a “global surveillance infrastructure,” Darakashan Raja, the founding director of Muslims for Just Futures, told Shadowproof by email. That infrastructure “create[s] a global confinement zone where individuals can’t truly be free anywhere they go if they are flagged as a terrorist or potential terrorist.” Counter extremism and surveillance. Illustration by Paul Lacombe. Framing The Problem As “Domestic Terrorism” DHS claims CP3 will combat “domestic violence extremism, including violent white supremacy.” CP3’s formation came alongside the development of a Domestic Terrorism Branch within the Office of Intelligence and Analysis. While the government targeting white supremacy may seem like a positive development, it raises serious questions about the framing of the problem. If the focus is on “violent” white supremacy, for example, what is non-violent or non-extremism white supremacy, and what is being done about it? There are significant reasons to doubt that a “domestic terrorism” framework can confront the problem of white supremacy.  As Nicole Nguyen and Yazan Zahzah noted in a recent report and toolkit, “Focusing on individualized acts of white supremacist violence while failing to respond to structural inequalities that harm communities of color actively contributes to the reproduction of white supremacy.” To put it another way, counter-extremism’s frameworks reduction of white supremacy to the deeds of a few individual bad actors allows the federal goverment to ignore that “the DHS and the FBI […] have always been intrinsically white supremacist institutions, from the histories of COINTELPRO to the War on Terror,” SLAPD wrote.  ”In addition,” Raja warned, “history has taught us that the state’s counterterrorism and national security infrastructure has always been weaponized against Black, Brown, Indigenous communities, and liberatory movements.”  That much is easily found within the Biden administration’s guidelines for combating “domestic violent extremism” released after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. While the guidelines never mention white supremacy explicitly, “advocating for the superiority of the white race” is listed under the Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists category. It’s reminiscent of the FBI’s adoption of the “Black Identity Extremists” category in 2019, which SLAPD argues “paves the way for the administration to equate protesters rising up against the police with Neo-Nazis.” Abolishing Surveillance Demanding the abolition of counter-extremism strategies seems like a daunting task especially as the federal government continues to muddy the program’s lineages by restructuring it, and as events like mass shootings create demand for further investment in them. Organizers are making it easier for people to hop onboard with an abolitionist approach, though.  Last year, Raja led the development of the Muslim Abolitionist Futures grassroots policy agenda calling for the abolition of the War on Terror and demanding investments in care infrastructure instead. The project collected oral histories from community organizers, activists, and others, “who led, organized, and participated in social movements to resist the War on Terror.” “The agenda brought together Muslim-led abolitionist groups in order to build a collective agenda so that we could use it as a movement and advocacy tool,” Raja explained. “It’s easy to dismiss one person or one organization, but when we can back up our demands with people power and the endorsement of multiple groups, it’s harder to ignore us.” For both Raja and SLAPD, rejecting the false promises of reform is central to their work as abolitionists. “We don’t measure out victories in reformist wins, which often sacrifice communities for the sake of expediency,” SLAPD wrote. “Rather, our goal is to build community power and popular knowledge and build a culture of resistance.” This can look like working directly with community members who have been harmed by the state rather than prioritizing the perspectives of academics, attorneys, and other professionals, who lack those ties to the community.  When it comes to policing, surveillance is sometimes presented as a reform option and is not recognized as harmful and integral to the architecture of policing. As Raja wrote, “One of the biggest trends I have seen within criminal justice reform movements is the push for alternatives to incarceration that places people under state surveillance through parole and probation.” The Community Justice Exchange, for example, highlights that more immigrants are enrolled in ICE’s Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (one of its Alternatives to Detention programs) than are detained in immigration facilities.  “Not A Moment In Time But A Continuation Of History.” An analysis of the development of counter-extremism programming in the U.S. illuminates the importance of more complex confrontations with policing. While it is certainly necessary to highlight the $100 billion cities collectively pour into policing each year in general, CP3 distributed $20 million in grants last year alone. Its predecessor, CVE, provided $10 million in grants in 2017. Neither of those numbers account for the funding required to run and house these programs.  Even if police are abolished, the constant evolution of counter-extremism programs shows that, without a direct abolitionist confrontation, surveillance will find a way to survive. The billions of funding currently directed to law enforcement institutions will likely find itself funneled into counter-extremism programs at city, state, and federal levels.  Confronting surveillance, Raja wrote, “allows for us to take a transnational approach to abolition.” While the global counter-extremism industry is one small vein of surveillance as a whole, it is perhaps among the least understood. But it is a perfect representation of SLAPD’s motto: “Not a moment in time but a continuation of history.” The motto not only frames SLAPD’s work as part of a longer struggle but helps to “desensationalize the latest outrageous surveillance technology and ground abolition in decolonization.” “Understanding our fight as part of a global anti-imperialist struggle has led to our collaboration with orgs like Anakbayan LA and the Palestinian Youth Movement,” SLAPD wrote. “The struggle for abolition is one with the struggle against the US war machine.” The post Abolitionist Organizers Warn Counter-Extremism Wont Stop White Supremacist Violence appeared first on Shadowproof.

[Category: Featured Reporting, Latest News, Marvel Cooke Fellowship]

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[l] at 7/24/22 11:20pm
Originally published at Ongoing History of Protest MusicThe veteran New York-based singer-songwriter and folk artist Steven Keene has established areputation for composing timely social critiques. Keenes 2020 album featured the galvanizing title track Them and Us as well as the stirring tune Save Yourself.He recently released his latest single Soon, which is his first release since Them and Us. With Soon, Keene confronts a numb world sleepwalking toward the third World War and climateextinction.Like many of the best protest tunes, he successfully balances a sense of mourning with a feelingof hopefulness. “There’s so much hate going on right now. There’s so much discrimination and so much discord, Keene stated. It’s just insane the way the world has become. This song confronts that hate. It talks aboutgetting back to Earth and protecting the planet. It talks about bringing up children to be fair, equal, and inclusive. It talks about initiating that ripple of change that will lead to the inevitability of a better worldsomeday soon, he added.Keene continued, “Everybody can interpret the song in their own way. But I think it’s a pretty easy read because it’s really just about hope. I believe strongly that it’s going to happen; it’s just not happeningright now.It may not be tomorrow, but it’s gonna happen, so look what we have to look forward to on this planet. Everybody’s gonna align one day and feel the same way about helping, about not discriminating against race, religion, or sexual preference. One day we’re gonna get there.”That message of optimism is summed up well in the following lyrics: Soon, I will return to you. That day is close. That day is soon.Watch or listen to Steven Keenes Soon: The post Protest Song Of The Week: Soon By Steven Keene appeared first on Shadowproof.

[Category: Latest News, The Dissenter, The Protest Music Project]

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[l] at 7/14/22 12:49pm
The following article originally appeared as part of The Dissenter Newsletter. Support independent journalism and become a monthly subscriber.A federal jury in New York convicted former CIA employee Joshua Schulte of violating the Espionage Act when he allegedly released materials on the CIA’s hacking capabilities to WikiLeaks.This was the second trial against Schulte. In March 2020, his first trial ended in a mistrial on several Espionage Act charges, but he was found guilty of contempt of court and lying to the FBI.Unlike the first trial, Schulte represented himself and argued his case. He again maintained he was not the source of the leaks published by WikiLeaks. The jury deliberated for nearly three days before announcing a verdict. Judge Jesse M. Furman in the Southern District of New York did not schedule a sentencing date because there are other charges pending against Schulte. Known as the “Vault 7” materials, WikiLeaks began releasing documents on March 7, 2017. They came from what WikiLeaks described as an “isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIAs Center for Cyber Intelligence.” Documents revealed how the CIA could target iPhones, Androids, and Samsung TVs and convert the devices’ microphones into bugs used to spy on targeted persons. Malware was also developed to infect Microsoft Windows users, and the CIA was “hoarding” security vulnerabilities in software and hardware that they could use for their covert operations instead of notifying companies that users were at risk of being hacked. It was one of the largest leaks of information in the history of CIA and a huge embarrassment for then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who responded by labeling WikiLeaks a non-state hostile intelligence agency and developing secret war plans against the media organization that included kidnapping or even killing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The US government has charged Assange with violating the Espionage Act, and the UK government authorized his extradition in June.Assistant US Attorney Michael D. Lockard asserted that on April 20, 2016, Schulte “stole the entirety of the CIA’s highly sensitive cyber intelligence capabilities.” This occurred just days after the CIA “locked the defendant out of the secure restricted vault-like location on the network.”“Shortly after stealing this extraordinarily sensitive intelligence information, the defendant transmitted those backups to WikiLeaks, knowing full well that WikiLeaks would put it up on the internet,” Lockard argued. “In the weeks following this break-in, the defendant took every step he would need to take in order to transmit those files to WikiLeaks. He downloaded a program that WikiLeaks itself recommends to leakers to use to send stolen data.”The program Schulte downloaded was Tor, and it is a widely used privacy tool that was supported through funds from the US State Department. He also downloaded Tails, which can be used to make a computer forget websites, files, passwords, and devices and Wi-Fi networks. Lockard said, [WikiLeaks] tell[s] you to use Tails as an operating system that allows you to hide all of your activity. But like Tor, Tails can be used by anyone who cares about their privacy in an age of digital surveillance. Lockard cast Schulte as a disgruntled employee and insisted he was known at the CIA for filing “false complaints,” bragging about his access to the classified computer network, and defying his supervisors. “The defendant would like to think of himself as a bad ass, but in fact, he is a ticking time bomb, a nuclear bomb, one that was ready to explode at any perceived provocation or disrespect,” Lockard declared. And in April and May of 2016, the defendant, the so-called nuclear option, set out to lay waste to the CIA’s cyber program, to prove his superiority, and to punish the people who he believed had wronged him. In carrying out that revenge, he caused enormous damage to this country’s national security.”But US prosecutors never presented any forensic evidence to specifically tie Schulte to the publication of the CIA hacking materials on WikiLeaks. Schulte acted very confident during his closing argument. He insisted that Lockard was “worried about the lack of evidence” because he had told the jury the “lack of evidence is not evidence of innocence.”“Hes worried there was no forensic artifact of a log-in to the Confluence server [the server that allowed employees to share information],” Schulte stated. “Hes worried there was no forensic artifact of a copy command. And he’s worried there was no forensic artifact of the transmission to WikiLeaks. And finally, hes worried there was no forensic artifact of any communication at all between me and WikiLeaks.  He should be worried ‘because that is reasonable doubt.’” As Schulte put it, the CIA “had no idea that its crown jewels” were stolen until the material appeared on WikiLeaks. “The CIA was under pressure—I will say tremendous pressure—to find out what was leaked, how it was leaked, and who leaked it. They wanted to hold someone responsible for the leak, and so they began immediately an investigation, an investigation that focused on me.”Schulte left the CIA on “bad terms” in November 2016. According to Schulte, “The lead FBI agent admitted that they had not even interviewed a single CIA witness. They had not even finished seizing the DevLAN network [which stored all the source code for hacking tools], let alone actually reviewed it. They had not conducted any investigation at all, and yet I was already the target of their investigation.” “Then, within a week, the FBI concocted an impossible theory that the WikiLeaks crime occurred on March 7, 2016, because it was precisely a year before the leaks. That was a day when many other people were at a manager offsite, and I was left alone in the office with no one to see what I was doing. And so the FBI argued I must have stolen the CIAs files,” Schulte added.Frank Stedman, who worked with Schulte, described why he was known as the “nuclear option.” It had nothing to do with someone prone to leaking classified information. He said Schulte did not care about the process for raising complaints. He would not play nice.If there was, like, a project or something that we didnt want to do or we thought was a bad idea, the joke was that we could bring him into the meeting and he would tell the customer to their face that they were stupid, that their idea was stupid, that we werent going to do it,” Stedman testified.It came out in testimony during both trials that at one point Schulte expressed views against leaking and suggested that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was a traitor who deserved to be executed. Prosecutors attempted to stop Schulte from insisting that there was information from the Vault 7 materials, which was already publicly available. So the government had not taken steps to protect it, and he could not be guilty of violating the Espionage Act. Judge Furman allowed the argument. There was scant coverage of both trials from the US news media. Matthew Russell Lee, who publishes to an independent site called Inner City Press, covered the trials—and all hearings in between. Schulte was designated for special administrative measures, or SAMs, by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Lee successfully won the unsealing of records related to Schulte’s civil complaint against the US government for cruel and inhuman treatment in Metropolitan Correctional Center New York. (The prison shut down as a result of deteriorating conditions in August 2021.) Attorney General Merrick Garland has continued to impose the restrictive conditions against Schulte, which prohibit any communications with journalists, require an FBI agent to monitor limited communications with immediate family, and ban him from talking with any inmates. While at MCC New York, Schulte complained, “SAMs inmates are locked in concrete boxes the size of parking spaces with purposefully obstructed views of outside. The cages are filthy and infested with rodents, rodent droppings, cockroaches, and mold.” There is no heating or air conditioning in the cages. There is no functioning plumbing. The lights burn brightly 24 hours per day, and the inmates are denied outside recreation, normal commissary, normal visitation, access to books and legal material, medical care, and dental care.” Schulte is now confined at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. He has several child pornography charges pending against him that stem from the FBI raid on his Manhattan apartment on March 15, 2017. The post Jury Finds Former CIA Programmer Guilty Of Leaking CIA Hacking Materials To WikiLeaks appeared first on Shadowproof.

[Category: Dissenter Featured, The Dissenter, Espionage Act, Joshua Schulte, The Dissenter Newsletter, WikiLeaks]

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[l] at 7/14/22 8:27am
Originally published at Ongoing History of Protest MusicKatie Alice Greer, the former lead vocalist of Washington D.C. punk band Priests, recentlyreleased her full-length solo debut Barbarism. Greer wrote, produced, and recorded the entirealbum herself. She previously released music using her initials KAG, but in an NPR interview she mentionedthe reasons for the change. Its two reasons. The first one being I started getting an uptick in people following me, especially on Twitter, who seemed to be into MAGA this, Trump that, Greer shared. I was kind of scratching my head because Im pretty vocally opposed to that stuff, but its not like Im some famous person who might be the target of Trump trolls. I finally realized its because #KAG, my initials, for them means Keep America Great.'Greer continued, That coupled with the fact that a lot of times I felt bad about taking individual credit for my creative work. Theres just something about that thats always made me a little uncomfortable.And Im often drawn to doing things that make me uncomfortable in my creative work, because thats one of the best ways for me to figure out whats going on in my head. The idea that puttingit out in my own full name scared me also drew me to wanting to do it, Greer added.Greers lead single and opening track “FITS/My Love Can’t Be.” The origins of the tune can be traced back to May 2020, at the height of pandemic isolation and Black Lives Matter protests. I’d spent something like 70 days mostly alone since the pandemic started. Then one weekend I biked out to Fairfax Avenue and found myself amongst thousands of people. It was jarring, Greer recalled. To go from mostly the stillness of a barely-lived-in bedroom to projectile shopping carts, strangers chanting, phalanxes of beige gun toters, and tanks parallel parked outside luxury underwear andgrocery shops on Melrose.Stuff was on fire. I think I listened to Exile On Main Street headed home, because it’s similarly contradictory and complicated mixture of emotions felt resonant. I wanted to try and capture all that I was feeling without so much as re-telling events that inspired the emotions themselves, Greer said.A video was made for the song, with Greer playing a correspondent on the “Barbarism NewsNetwork.” “I’m not a journalist, but maybe to underscore the contrast between a reporter and astoryteller, I wanted to make a Network Howard Beale-inspired music video to visuallycommunicate the cacophony of feeling.It worked because the video is a potent example of musical journalism.Watch/listen to Kate Alice Greers FITS/My Love Cant Be: The post Protest Song Of The Week: FITS/My Love Can’t Be By Katie Alice Greer appeared first on Shadowproof.

[Category: Latest News]

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[l] at 7/10/22 12:02pm
On the latest episode of the Unauthorized Disclosure weekly podcast, Andrea Ritchie joins Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola for a conversation about organizing for abortion decriminalization in a post-Roe United States. Andrea is a Black lesbian immigrant, and the author of the book Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color. She is the co-author of the forthcoming book No More Police: A Case For Abolition, as well as the book Queer (In)Justice. And Andrea is the co-founder of Interrupting Criminalization. First, Andrea assesses the terrain for abortion decriminalization as it exists now that the US Supreme Court abolished federal rights to reproductive health care. She comments on the brewing threat of prosecutions against women and medical providers. Planned Parenthood in Montana announced they would no longer provide abortion medication to out-of-state patients. Andrea expresses her disgust and frustration with this decision. Later in the show, Andrea describes what people can do. Many of the ideas outlined stem from recognizing the connections between struggles for gender justice, migrant justice, economic and racial justice, sex workers’ rights, disability justice, etc. Voting harder in November for Democrats is not a priority. Giving to abortion access funds is what people should do. That can be done by donating directly, or Mariame Kaba has this store where you can purchase the shirt Kevin was wearing. Funds support the West Alabama Womens Center. ***RESOURCES*** —Abortion Decriminalization Is Part Of The Larger Struggle Against Policing And Criminalization —We Must Fight In Solidarity With Trans Youth  —July 17 event by the Abortion Access Fund: Operation Save Abortion The post Post-Roe Organizing For Abortion Decriminalization: Interview With Andrea Ritchie appeared first on Shadowproof.

[Category: Dissenter Featured, Latest News, The Dissenter, Unauthorized Disclosure Podcast, Abolition, Abortion, Activism, Podcasts, supreme court]

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[l] at 6/29/22 8:52am
Originally published at Ongoing History of Protest MusicBack on January 21, 2017, singer-songwriter MILCK went viral when she organized a flash mob performance of her song “Quiet” at the Women’s March On Washington. The tune was motivated by her past experiences with sexual and physical abuse. The song became an anthem of empowerment, and ever since, MILCK continues to write and record socially conscious music.MILCKs latest protest anthem was the result of attending a pro-choice rally on the steps of the Supreme Court in DC, just prior to the court overturning Roe v. Wade. The tune features samples of protesters shouting, We wont go back! She converted the audio and posted it online with the intent that other musicians and activists would contribute their voices and stories. That led to this collaboration.“Community is the cure for most problems, and this song was no exception,” said MILCK. “BIIANCO jumped on as lead producer and co-writer. My Instagram follower @malmooge contributed lyrics. Autumn Rowe lent her vocals, and Ani DiFranco added a whole layer of badassery with her vocals and guitar.”Of course, DiFranco is no stranger to music as an extension of activism. She has composed several poignant pro-choice songs: 1990s “Lost Woman Song, 1999s “Hello, Birmingham,” and 2016s “Play God.After abortion rights for women were abolished by the court, MILCK posted the song earlier than intended. Fifty percent of the proceeds from the YouTube release will be donated to Planned Parenthood and Yellowhammer Fund.Listen to MILCKs We Wont Go Back collaborative protest song: [NOTE: If you would like to donate to an ongoing fundraiser for expanding abortion access in the United States, we encourage you to give to Prison Culture either by purchasing a t-shirt or donating directly to the womens centers/clinics being supported.] The post Protest Song Of The Week: We Wont Go Back By MILCK appeared first on Shadowproof.

[Category: The Protest Music Project, Protest Song of the Week]

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[l] at 6/28/22 3:55pm
This article was funded by paid subscribers of The Dissenter Newsletter, a project of Shadowproof. Become a monthly subscriber to help us continue our independent journalism.The False Claims Act in the United States allows individuals with evidence of fraud against government agencies to bring lawsuits as qui tam whistleblowers. They can bring a case even if the US Justice Department has no interest in fighting the alleged corruption. But on June 21, Courthouse News reported that the US Supreme Court will determine whether the government has the authority to dismiss a whistleblower lawsuit brought under the False Claims Act when the government has declined to intervene in the case. In other words, the Supreme Court could help corporations shut down independent whistleblower lawsuits that the Justice Department does not want to pursue.Health care and pharmaceutical corporations, along with their lobbying networks, have ramped up pressure in recent years to stifle the effectiveness of the False Claims Act in holding their industry accountable and prevent the law’s expansion. Under President Donald Trump, the National Whistleblower Center reported in 2018 that US government recoveries under the law hit a “ten-year low.” Nearly $2.9 billion was recovered, but only $767 million of that money was a result of lawsuits by the government. Whistleblower lawsuits, however, yielded over $2.1 billion. A network of dark money has transformed the Supreme Court into an illegitimate and partisan institution. The same court that overturned Roe v. Wade—ending nearly 50 years of abortion rights—could gut one of the few laws available to private citizens to challenge corporate corruption. Pushing Complicit Government Agencies To Act President Abraham Lincoln signed the first False Claims Act in 1863 during the US Civil War. It became known as the “Lincoln law. According to Tom Mueller, author of Crisis of Conscience: Whistleblowing In An Age of Fraud, the law was intended to “stop army and navy contractors from stealing taxpayer dollars but also to push complacent or complicit government agencies to act.” The US did not have a Justice Department, Mueller noted. What the “Lincoln law” did was empower individuals to “prosecute fraud with or without the government’s participation.” Offending contractors could be fined $2,000 for each misrepresentation or false claims they made when requesting payment from the government. The law was gutted by Congress in 1943 because the Justice Department claimed it did not need the assistance of whistleblowers when prosecutors already knew about the fraud. As Republican Senator Chuck Grassley recalled, this led to “absurd results that only hurt the taxpayer.”Grassley, an advocate for the law, said it “basically meant that all whistleblower cases were blocked, even cases where the government only knew about the fraud because of the whistleblower.” In 1986, Grassley helped to ensure that amendments to the False Claims Act were passed to restore power to private citizens to bring whistleblower lawsuits. It ensured that whistleblowers would receive a reward in return for risking their career or legal jeopardy. However, in order to convince President Ronald Reagan to sign the amendments into law, Grassley and other senators had to overcome institutional opposition within the Justice Department. Jay Stephens and Stuart Schiffer, two senior DOJ officials, opposed restoring the False Claims Act. Stephens contended the Justice Department was doing a good enough job against defense contractor fraud and a stronger law would hamper their work, according to Mueller.“The law,” Stephens said, “was an anachronism from a time when the United States had no central investigative force; now that the DOJ and the FBI existed, most qui tam whistleblowers were parasitic ‘bounty hunters’ who interfered with legitimate law enforcers and ultimately provided little useful evidence of wrongdoing.” The counter to Justice Department officials was that the restoration of the False Claims Act was necessary to protect whistleblowers from retaliation. The amendments were needed to prevent a complacent and complicit Justice Department from entering into “sweetheart deals with powerful contractors.” Devastating Threat To The Executives Constitutional Authority Justice Department officials remained opposed, even though Reagan declined to veto the amendments. In 1989, they argued to the US Supreme Court that the law was unconstitutional. Bill Barr, who later became attorney general under Trump, was the assistant attorney general. He contended the False Claims Act represented a “devastating threat to the executive’s constitutional authority and to the doctrine of separation of powers.” He objected to how Congress empowered citizens to help stimulate government action against fraud.“There has been a massive upsurge in qui tam actions—over 150 suits have been filed,” Barr cried. “These actions have disrupted the civil and criminal enforcement activities of the Department.”“They have also undermined the executive’s ability to administer complex procurement contracts and, in some cases, have caused serious national security concerns. The 1986 Amendments have also spawned the formation of full-time ‘bounty hunting’ groups—ersatz departments of justice—that go about prosecuting civil fraud actions in the name of the United States.”Barr was worried about groups representing whistleblowers, who could collect up to thirty percent of any recovery, because their effectiveness put the Justice Department to shame. He was ultimately unsuccessful in persuading the Supreme Court to neuter the False Claims Act. However, three decades later, Barr was at it again in his position as Trump’s attorney general. The Justice Department dismissed an increased number of false claims cases for reasons that Grassley believed had nothing to do with the merits of the cases. It seemed prosecutors were intent to discourage whistleblowers and undermine efforts to root out serious fraud.   Bloomberg Law reported that the Justice Department moved to dismiss “at least 14 cases involving pharmaceuticals.” Eleven of the cases were brought by the National HealthCare Analysis Group, which alleged “violations of anti-kickback laws that prohibit improper marketing of drugs to medical professionals.” They were viewed as a “bounty hunting” group. The National Whistleblower Center called attention to the fact that the Justice Department was attempting to dismiss a case against the pharmaceutical corporation known as Gilead Sciences. A whistleblower accused the corporation of “manufacturing drugs with contaminated ingredients from China” and unusually the Justice Department maintained it would be too costly to pursue the lawsuit. Grassley and a bipartisan group of senators tried in 2021 to correct the issue of dismissals by the Justice Department by creating a test. Prosecutors would be required to “identify a valid government purpose and a rational relation between dismissal and accomplishment of that purpose.” A whistleblower would then have the ability to challenge a dismissal by “demonstrating that the dismissal is fraudulent, arbitrary and capricious, or illegal. But Big Pharma succeeded in blocking the amendments from inclusion in the 2021 infrastructure bill that passed. It was a major loss for whistleblowers. “By raising false flags about these amendments and locking progress through complex and endless court cases,” the National Whistleblower Center warned, an “anti-whistleblower victory—which could open the floodgates for future attacks on these highly successful whistleblower protections”—was secured by lobbyists. Record Settlements And Rewards Under The False Claims Act During the past five years, lawsuits against the False Claims Act that are backed by corporate interests have sought to amplify uncertainty around the Supreme Court and lower courts’ interpretation of provisions in the law. Each million spent on these efforts is intended to stall the progress of whistleblowers courageous enough to take a stand against corporate influence and power. GlaxoSmithKline, a major pharmaceutical corporation, was hit with a record $3 billion fine in 2012 after marketing their drugs for “unauthorized uses” and cheating the US government’s Medicaid program. The result was a whistleblower reward of $250 million, which four individuals split. Faced with “allegations it sold toxic mortgage-backed securities and other financial products” in the run-up to the 2008 economic crash, Bank of America agreed to a record settlement with the US government of $16.65 billion in 2014. Three whistleblowers and one firm shared a $170 million reward. Pharmaceutical corporation Johnson & Johnson entered into a $2.2 billion settlement with the US government in 2012 to end a lawsuit involving allegations related to fraud and kickback schemes perpetrated to sell three drugs: Risperdal, Natrecor, and Invega. A whistleblower received a $167 million reward. These are just three examples of how private individuals with evidence and knowledge of fraud can pursue a modest level of accountability against corporations, whether Justice Department officials have the political appetite for such action or not.The Justice Departments history of opposition to the False Claims Act does not exactly inspire confidence that the corporate-captured Supreme Court will leave the law alone. If the Supreme Court yet again prioritizes corporations and upends a settled law, their ruling may greatly diminish a tool that whistleblowers have wielded for decades. The post US Supreme Court May Take Aim At Whistleblower Protection Law appeared first on Shadowproof.

[Category: Dissenter Featured, Latest News, The Dissenter]

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[l] at 6/17/22 5:19am
This article was funded by paid subscribers of The Dissenter Newsletter. Become a monthly subscriber to help us continue our independent journalism.United Kingdom Home Secretary Priti Patel approved the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States. Patel’s decision to hand over a journalist to the US government for prosecution was immediately condemned by human rights and press freedom organizations. The Assange legal team planned to submit an appeal in the High Court of Justice challenging the political nature of the case and how extradition law was interpreted.Describing it as “shameful,” Reporters Without Borders international campaigns director Rebecca Vincent said the decision represented “another failure by the UK to protect journalism and press freedom, bringing Julian Assange a step closure to extradition.” The global human rights organization Amnesty International renewed their opposition. “Allowing Julian Assange to be extradited to the US would put him at great risk and sends a chilling message to journalists the world over.” Don’t Extradite Assange, a campaign which mobilized opposition to the case in the UK, stated, “This is a dark day for press freedom and for British democracy. Anyone in this country who cares about freedom of expression should be deeply ashamed that the Home Secretary has approved the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States, the country that plotted his assassination.” Assange faces 18 charges brought against him by the US Justice Department, 17 of which fall under the Espionage Act. All the charges relate to documents WikiLeaks released in 2010 and 2011, which were provided by US Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Over 300 doctors, psychiatrists, and psychologists organized under the banner of “Doctors for Assange” sent a letter to Patel on June 10 that reminded Patel of “serious concerns” related to the WikiLeaks founder’s “deteriorating health,” which has worsened while in UK custody. “Under conditions in which the UK legal system has failed to take Mr Assange’s current health status into account,” the doctors declared, “no valid decision to approve his extradition may be made by you or anyone else.”The doctors made it clear that extraditing a person with such compromised health was “medically and ethically unacceptable.” They added, “Should he come to harm in the US under these circumstances, it is you, Home Secretary, who will be left holding the responsibility for that negligent outcome.”Nineteen organizations committed to freedom of expression and press freedom wrote a letter to Patel on April 22, right after the district court ordered Assange’s extradition and sent it to the Home Office for review. “[Assange] highly likely to be detained [in the US] in conditions of isolation or solitary confinement despite the US government’s assurances, which would severely exacerbate his risk of suicide,” the organizations warned. “[He] would be unable to adequately defend himself in the US courts, as the Espionage Act lacks a public interest defense. His prosecution would set a dangerous precedent that could be applied to any media outlet that published stories based on leaked information, or indeed any journalist, publisher, or source anywhere in the world.” “We ask you, Home Secretary, to honor the UK government’s commitment to protecting and promoting media freedom and reject the US extradition request. We ask you to release Mr Assange from Belmarsh prison and allow him to return to his young family after many years of isolation. Finally, we ask you to publicly commit to ensuring that no publisher, journalist or source ever again faces detention in the UK for publishing information in the public interest.”The organizations demanded a meeting with Patel, but it does not appear a meeting was ever granted so advocates could further convey their concerns. On May 10, Dunja Mijatović, the commissioner for the Council of Europe appealed to Patel. “It is my view that the indictment by the United States against Mr. Assange raises important questions about the protection of those that publish classified information in the public interest, including information that exposes human rights violations.”“The broad and vague nature of the allegations against Mr. Assange, and of the offenses listed in the indictment, are troubling as many of them concern activities at the core of investigative journalism in Europe and beyond,” Mijatović argued. “Consequently, allowing Mr.Assange’s extradition on this basis would have a chilling effect on media freedom, and could ultimately hamper the press in performing its task as purveyor of information and public watchdog in democratic societies.”All of the above overtures to Patel were apparently brushed aside. There is no evidence that any complaints about the Assange case were ever considered by Patel. The news of the decision did not even come from Patel herself. An unnamed Home Office spokesperson provided remarks that were circulated by UK media. “Under the Extradition Act 2003, the secretary of state must sign an extradition order if there are no grounds to prohibit the order being made. Extradition requests are only sent to the home secretary once a judge decides it can proceed after considering various aspects of the case.” “On June 17, following consideration by both the magistrates court and high court, the extradition of Mr. Julian Assange to the US was ordered. Mr. Assange retains the normal 14-day right to appeal. “In this case, the UK courts have not found that it would be oppressive, unjust, or an abuse of process to extradite Mr Assange,” the unnamed spokesperson claimed. “Nor have they found that extradition would be incompatible with his human rights, including his right to a fair trial and to freedom of expression.” They further claimed in the US his health would be treated appropriately. But this was not a fresh statement from a department willing to take public responsibility for approving the request. It was a kind of vulgar paraphrasing of the legal criteria used as a cover to avoid defending or justifying the Home Offices action.The spokesperson faithfully parroted the “assurances” that were put forward in diplomatic notes to the UK Foreign Office by the US State Department, which intervened after the Crown Prosecution Service and the US government lost their case at the district court level on January 4, 2021. The US State Departments intervention played a critical role in saving the extradition request. The High Court of Justice relied on the assurances when overturning the district court decision in December 2021.In the end, Patel and the UK government put the UK’s role as a client state of the US government ahead of challenging the case. This is a role the UK has performed consistently and dutifully since supporting the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The US and UK agreed to an alarming and unprecedented extradition request that criminalizes someone for engaging in standard newsgathering activities not only because they share the US government’s disgust for Assange but also because UK officials value the US-UK partnership more than human rights. Patel and the Home Office supported an expansion of the Official Secrets Laws in the UK while the US extradition request moved through the UK courts. As Mohamed Elmaazi reported for The Dissenter, the proposed expansion would make it possible for the UK government to imprison “leakers, recipients of leaks, and secondary publishers–including journalists—from the current maximum of two years to as high as 14 years in prison.” The Home Office contended there was no longer much of a difference between “espionage and the most serious unauthorized disclosures.” The department regarded journalism as an act capable of “far more serious damage” than traditional espionage. Operation Pelican, the name for the pressure campaign to force Assange out of the Ecuador embassy in London, was supported by the Home Office.Declassified UK’s chief investigator Matt Kennard reported that Patel was on the advisory council for a right-wing group linked to the CIA called the Henry Jackson Society, which has attacked Assange several times since 2010. Without any meaningful objections from within the UK government, if Assange is eventually put on a plane and brought to the US for trial, they, along with the US government, will bear responsibility for any tragedy that occurs while in a US jail or prison. The post State Of World Press Freedom Darkens As UK Government Approves Assanges Extradition appeared first on Shadowproof.

[Category: Latest News, The Dissenter, Extradition, Julian Assange, The Dissenter Newsletter, United Kingdom, WikiLeaks]

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[l] at 6/15/22 8:48am
Originally appeared at Ongoing History of Protest MusicThe influential indie rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs released their first tune in close to a decade, “Spitting Off the Edge of the World. Its on their upcoming album, Cool It Down, out September 30. Spitting is a collaboration with indie-pop artist Perfume Genius, whose voice nicely complementsfront women Karen O. The band produced a music video for the song that stars Karen O and Perfume Genius. It was directed by frequent Yeah Yeah Yeahs collaborator Cody Critcheloe, and the visuals suit the songs message of defiance in the face of adversity quite well.In a statement, Karen O mentioned that the songs inspiration stemmed from pending climate catastrophes.“I see the younger generations staring down this threat, and they’re standing on the edge of aprecipice, confronting what’s coming with anger and defiance,” Karen O said. “It’s galvanizing, andthere’s hope there.” The songs chorus pays particular attention to the younger generation:And the kids cry outWe’re spitting off the edge of the worldOut in the nightNever had no chanceNowhere to hidespitting off the edge of the worldOut comes the sunNever had no chanceNowhere to runThe tune ends with the optimistic declaration that the world will watch the kids rise. Watch/listen to Spitting On The Edge Of The World by Yeah Yeah Yeahs featuring Perfume Genius: The post Protest Song Of The Week: Spitting Off the Edge of the World By Yeah Yeah Yeahs appeared first on Shadowproof.

[Category: Latest News, The Dissenter, Protest Song of the Week]

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[l] at 6/8/22 11:15am
June 2022 will mark the one-year anniversary of the record-setting heat wave that killed over 500 people across Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Canada. The Pacific Northwest, known for cold, rainy winters and mild summers reached high temperatures in 2021 with 116 degrees Fahrenheit in Portland, Oregon and 121 degrees in Lytton, Canada.  Oregon’s Multnomah County saw the most deaths. An analysis found most of the people who died were older, lived by themselves, and had no functioning air conditioning. Many areas affected by this heatwave had cooling shelters available, including in public spaces like libraries. But advocates argue that this is not enough. “The idea of cooling centers is just, to me, this lack of understanding that where people live has got to be a core standard […] especially when you are talking about older and disabled individuals,” said Ruth Ann Norton, the CEO of the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative non-profit, which works to create safe, healthy, and energy efficient homes through direct services and policy advocacy. “I know on the East Coast […] one of the major COVID responses [was] emergency air conditioning,” Norton explained, “we had people stuck in their homes.” “Elderly individuals, a large part of them were already stuck” prior to the pandemic, Norton said. “And it was just this blind eye [being turned to them].”  The 2021 heat wave revealed the unequal access to cool air in the homes of marginalized people, and that this is a public health issue with deadly consequences in the face of climate change. Climate specialists at World Weather Attribution say the Pacific Northwest heat wave would be a once-in-a-millennium event without climate change. They predict more frequent, severe, and longer heatwaves like this in the future. Those without air conditioning, even in places that historically have not needed cooling systems, will continue to be at risk. “We’ve got people living in environments now that […]  if we were still a nomadic people they would just leave,” said Norton. “Because they have a home anchoring them, they are living in these incredibly hot boxes.” In response to this weather event, governments in the Pacific Northwest have made efforts to expand access to cooling. Oregon passed a law that took effect in March 2022, which prevents landlords and homeowners associations from banning air conditioning units unless there is a legitimate safety concern — for example, if the AC unit were to be placed in a fire escape window.  The law also allocates funds to create a stockpile of air conditioners and air purifiers to distribute to eligible individuals during emergency conditions, such as severe wildfire smoke. The eligibility criteria, according to the law, requires individuals to qualify for medical assistance through Medicare, the Department of Human Services, or the Oregon Health Authority, or that they received any of these services within the last twelve months. They must also have housing that has electricity for an air conditioner or purifier, and attest that they can install the units legally and safely. Washington state expanded access to air conditioning for low-income residents by allowing money from the federally-funded Low-Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to be used for purchasing, repairing, or replacing air conditioning units. Previously, those funds had only been approved to help with heating. The Washington legislature introduced a bill that would have expanded the use of air conditioning in adult family homes. However, it was referred to the Ways and Means Committee and it stalled out by the time the legislative session adjourned in March 2022. According to Norton, local action may be the most effective approach to seeing real change.  “I think it’s state legislation that has the most impact — far more than even federal legislation,” she said, “although, federal leads the way for some of this.” There may be room for the federal government to recognize and address the need for sufficient cooling in homes as the climate changes. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, for example, does not mandate that Public Housing Authorities need to include air conditioning in their units. Although Washington State has made LIHEAP funds available to pay for fixing air conditioning units, this service is not guaranteed at the national level. How the money is implemented is up to states’ discretion, and not all states allow the funds to be used in this way. Increasing access to air conditioning units in homes is just one way of increasing thermal comfort on days of extreme heat. Norton says a more comprehensive approach is needed to improve housing conditions as a whole. “You can install AC,” Norton starts, “but you got to have good ventilation on the house, you’ve got to not have leaky roofs and windows, right? So that [having the AC] matters.” Taking a holistic approach to creating “healthy homes” has multiple benefits. For example, increasing ventilation in a home can reduce the amounts of Volatile Organic Compounds, tobacco smoke, radon, and allergens someone is exposed to, which can also improve health outcomes in vulnerable communities. Norton is hopeful that climate-resiliency policies that improve access to AC and other complex approaches to creating thermal comfort in the home will gain traction. “For agnostics about climate change, the climate-related investments in housing bear out on their own […] we are improving generational wealth,” Norton explained, “We may improve [the residents’] longevity. But what we are really improving is their quality of health while they’re alive and the value of their home when they pass on.” The post Facing Summer Heat, Activists Say Cooling Centers Are Far From Enough appeared first on Shadowproof.

[Category: Featured Reporting, Latest News, The Bullpen, climate change, Heatwaves]

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[l] at 6/1/22 9:18am
Originally published at Ongoing History of Protest Music. The second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd was May 25, and sadly nothing has really changed. Racially motivated killings and cops murdering black people still occur frequently.To comment on this issue, twin sisters Naomi and Lisa Diaz of the Cuban-Venezuelan duo Ibeyi reworked Black Flags 1981 classic hardcore punk anthem Rise Above. It appeared on their recent album, Spell 31, and Trinidad rapper Berwyn added a verse that pays tribute to Floyd.Berwyn is on this track, Naomi shared. He listened to it, and he did his verse really fast. For him, listening to this song made him think of George Floyd, and it’s beautiful.I think the thing is, with this song, you can think about everything. It could be for women. It could be for minorities. It’s a song for the oppressed. It could be something small or something really big, but I think this song is just empowering, Naomi added.The song is empowering. The lyrics, We are tired of your abuse. Try to stop us; but its no use, still hold as much impact as they did when Black Flag recorded them. And Ibeyis reworking delivers a galvanizing message to stand against oppression. The post Protest Song Of The Week: Rise Above By Ibeyi (Featuring Berwyn) appeared first on Shadowproof.

[Category: Latest News, The Dissenter, The Protest Music Project]

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[l] at 5/31/22 8:52am
This article was funded by paid subscribers of The Dissenter Newsletter. Take 25% off and become a monthly subscriber to help us continue our independent journalismAll main political parties in the United Kingdom have called for immediate passage in Parliament of new measures to fight state threats, which would restrict press freedom and threaten civil liberties. The parties claim that measures in this legislation are necessary to prevent the influence of Russian oligarchs and figures like Christine Lee, a lawyer in the UK who was accused by MI5 of being a Chinese agent. Much of the bill, however, has nothing to do with foreign interference and civil society groups have criticized the legislation. In 2015, the Cabinet Office requested that the Law Commission, an organization of individuals in the legal profession who advise the government, review the Official Secrets Acts, which apply to unauthorized disclosures of classified information. The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) expressed concern, raising the government’s history of prosecuting journalists indicated the proposed reforms would harm their members and criminalize the handling of classified information. “The NUJ strongly believes that whistleblowers and journalists acting in the public interest should not be subjected to increased prison sentences for unauthorized disclosure offenses,” the organization declared. “We are particularly concerned that the [UK] Home Office appears to be recommending reforms, which would make it easier to prosecute journalists.”Additionally, in 2020, a committee in Parliament published their highly publicized “Russia Report that analyzed alleged foreign interference in the UK. They recommended the government create a foreign influence registration scheme.Such a scheme would require individuals to register if they undertook certain actions at the behest of a foreign power. If a person was found to be acting as an agent—and had not registered with the government, authorities would have the power to imprison them. This power was proposed despite the Russia Reports failure to find any significant interference. In fact, it merely asserted that MI5 had failed to investigate the issue. Liberal Democrats: Counter-Espionage Laws Unfit For the 2020s Both proposed reforms were combined into one piece of legislation called the National Security Bill.”A first draft was introduced into Parliament onMay 11. In an accompanying statement published by the Telegraph newspaper, Home Secretary Priti Patel cited the case of Christine Lee as justification for the bill. MI5 sent an alert to all members of Parliament (MPs) in January 2022 accusing Lee, a Birmingham-based solicitor, of lobbying and making donations to MPs on behalf of the Chinese state. The story was featured on both the BBC and the British commercial network ITV evening news on the same day. The security service’s claims were uncritically reported. Each of the UKs major papers ran the story and turned to Patel and other politicians who support the new measures for comment. In a parliamentary debate three days later, multiple MPs from all of the most prominent political parties urged Patel to bring the new laws forward on the basis that a foreign agent registration scheme was necessary. Some even called for Lee to be arrested or deported. News media and politicians in Australia in 2018 warned against MPs getting donations from Chinese Communist Party-affiliated individuals. Similar legislation was rushed through their parliament. It was sold as a measure against foreign interference but contained the same restrictions on journalists. (These similarities could be more than coincidence as Patel has been advised by the Australian government on the new laws.) Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the calls for new laws grew louder. A Guardian piece from mid-March quoted Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, and Tom Tugendhat, chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, who called for the bill to be rushed through Parliament on the basis that foreign agent registration was needed to combat the influence of Russian oligarchs. The Liberal Democrats foreign affairs spokesperson Layla Moran said, “It’s deeply concerning that we could be waiting for up to another year for these vital measures. We all know that the existing counter-espionage legislation is unfit for the 2020s. If ever there was a time to update it, it’s now.”“Just as the government fast-tracked the economic crime transparency and enforcement bill, they could do so with these additional measures,” Moran recommended. “The Liberal Democrats stand ready to sit over weekends and Easter recess to get these vital measures through as quickly as possible. Typically, the process of passing legislation takes months or years as it is publicly scrutinized and debated.A briefing prepared for MPs acknowledged an expansion of the Official Secrets Act in 1911, which made it illegal for all individuals (not just civil servants) to publish any government documents, was passed through the House of Commons in a single day whilst most MPs were away during Grouse hunting season. This was prompted by a fear of German interference, which according to an officially commissioned history was later found to be exaggerated by MI5. If the government takes opposition MPs up on their offer and repeats this history, there will be little time to analyze new additions to the legislation that were not mentioned during the consultation process. As Patel outlined, the bill would give the government expanded authority to catch perpetrators before serious damage is done, and it will allow the courts to hand down significantly longer sentences for foreign state backed crimes.A possible life sentence for whistleblowers and journalists handling classified information, if they are found to be working to benefit a foreign power, is in the legislation. Text in the bill also indicates authorities would not have to necessarily prove an individual was working for a particular foreign power. The measures may also apply extraterritorially to individuals outside of the UK.Protect, an NGO which supports whistleblowers expressed relief that the need to prove whistleblowers actions were damaging to national security was not removed but added, “Whether intended or probably unintended, whistleblowers based in the UK raising concerns either with foreign-based journalists or regulators/law enforcement could be caught up in prosecutions.So were relieved the government has moved away from one set of draconian reforms, but were worried theyve not thought through the consequences of the new offenses, Protect concluded.WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces extradition to the US in a case that Amnesty International labeled a grave threat to press freedom. Assange was widely and misleadingly reported to be working with the Russian government. He is the target of the US Justice Departments alarming extraterritorial application of the Espionage Act. The bill would enshrine this method of delegitimizing dissident journalists into law, and Patel is in charge of deciding whether the UK government signs off on Assanges extradition to the US. While reading the bill in Parliament, Patel said that at some point a foreign influence registration scheme will be added.None of the proposed measures are final, since the legislation will likely undergo alterations. Criticism of Foreign Registration Schemes A minority of voices have suggested that the threat of foreign interference has once again been exaggerated, and the UK government’s proposals are an overreaction. Conservative MP Mark Howard wrote in an editorial that his work for the foreign office in Shanghai was not significantly different than what MI5 accused Christine Lee of doing. She was accused of funneling money from foreign nationals and passing it off as her own donations. (MI5 did not provide evidence of this claim.) Labour MP Barry Gardiner, whose parliamentary office received most of Lee’s donations, regularly spoke in Parliament in favor of a Chinese state-owned company having a role in building a nuclear power station in the UK. The coverage at this time also noted that Lee advertised her position as the Chinese embassy’s lead consultant on her law firms own website. In response to the home office’s planned reforms, Transparency International noted that the government’s proposals neglected to mention money laundering or corruption as a means of influencing the UK. They also acknowledged that a foreign registration system already exists in America, which the home office intends to emulate. The United States government requires Chinese and Russian state-affiliated media outlets to register, whereas the BBC and other state media are exempt. The system has been wielded for politically motivated prosecutions.One infamous historical example of selective application of such laws was when American writer and activist W.E.B Dubois was charged with being an unregistered Soviet agent for circulating an anti-nuclear weapons petition.Both Hungary and Russia have used similar schemes to shut down civil society organizations and press outlets. Transparency International recommended that the government tighten existing lobbying rules to deal with this phenomenon instead of passing this legislation. Yeow Poon, chairman of the Chinese Liberal Democrats, wrote on his group’s blog that what Lee was accused of is no different than others lobbying on their countrys behalf. He commented that her denouncement would cause members of the Chinese community to be hesitant to participate in British public life. Lee herself has not made any public appearances since January. Poon has conducted interviews with various members of an anti-Chinese racism group he leads. Alex Yip was originally from Hong Kong and is a councilor in Birmingham. Until 2015, he was vice-chair of the British Chinese Project (BCP), which Christine Lee chaired. In his interview with Poon, Yip described his work with the organization as focused on advising the police on a response to the rise in Asian hate crime, registering members of the Chinese community to vote and other community organizing activities. The Times ran a story on Yip organizing a fundraising dinner in 10 Downing Street, which was attended by Lee. He told Poon the article implied that he was an agent of the Chinese state which he denied, citing his work supporting individuals granted asylum from Hong Kong who arrived in Birmingham. Poon also interviewed Pek-San Tan, who sat on a government-funded committee set up to help settle Hong Kong residents moving to Britain. Senior members of the Conservative Party campaigned to have Tan removed from this position on the basis that she worked for an organization in London, which expressed support for China’s position on Hong Kong. Tan told Poon that since these accusations were made against her she has not been invited back to the committees meetings. She also said that her volunteering with the group consisted of assisting with press accreditation and supporting artists/guests with interviews during the Chinese New Year event, which the group organized over a period of two-to-three weeks for the past four years. A report from the Telegraph, which also highlighted her association with Christine Lee, conceded that Tan was “not known to have expressed pro-Beijing views in a personal capacity.” When presented with some of the sources in the article, Poon responded. “It is right that we should have proper laws to protect our democracy from foreign political interference. However, I am concerned of a possible witch hunt based on hearsay and allegations made without proper investigation and evidence.” “I hope that we will learn from the flaws in Australia and the United States legislative responses, especially in protecting the rights of diaspora communities, and the use of alarmist Sinophobic public discourse and sensational news reporting resulting in racism and hate crime against people of Chinese, East and Southeast Asians heritage,” Poon declared. The post Major Political Parties In UK Back State Threats Bill That Would Jeopardize Press Freedom appeared first on Shadowproof.

[Category: Dissenter Featured, Latest News, The Dissenter, Julian Assange, Press Freedom, The Dissenter Newsletter, United Kingdom]

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[l] at 5/26/22 8:02am
Files on Top Gun: Maverick detail the influence the Pentagon had over the sequel to Top Gun, how that affected the storyline and character arcs, and which key talking points became part of the script. Additionally, documents on Top Gun also show the United States military has long wanted this to be a major franchise.  The first Top Gun (1986) is often remembered as a recruitment bonanza for the US military, in part due to reports of recruiters setting up tables and stalls outside movie theaters. However, internal documents show that it was more than that – a database produced by the Pentagon detailing its work with Hollywood says of Top Gun, “Film completed rehabilitation of the military’s image, which had been savaged by the Vietnam War.” One of the more surprising details in the production history of Top Gun is that the acclaimed antiwar filmmaker Oliver Stone was offered the project. Stone revealed this in an interview for the recently-released documentary, Theaters of War: How the Pentagon and CIA Took Hollywood. A few years later, when Stone was filming the second of his Vietnam war trilogy, Born on the Fourth of July, Tom Cruise told Playboy that he felt it would be “irresponsible” to make a Top Gun sequel, as it offered people a “fairy tale” view of military life. He even joked that the film was so successful at recruiting young men that, “I am totally responsible for World War Three.” Behind the scenes, a Top Gun sequel was in development for years, with provisional Pentagon approval, but the Tailhook sexual assault scandal killed the movie.During the 1991 Tailhook Conference at a hotel in Las Vegas, Navy and Marine aviators assaulted dozens of women and men over the course of several days. An Inspector General investigation flagged the “Top Gun mentality” as partly to blame. When the Top Gun sequel went into pre-production in the 1990s, the military kiboshed the project by refusing to be involved. Then-head of the Army’s entertainment liaison office David Georgi recounted, “Paramount went to the Navy and said, Lets make Top Gun II. But after Tailhook, the Navy said, Get the hell out of here.’” It wasn’t until 20 years later that Top Gun was resurrected. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer met with the Pentagon’s Hollywood liaison in summer 2012, as well as with representatives from the different military branches. As a report from the Marine Corps shows, this was well before even a draft script was completed. “Initial meeting indicated production will be looking for a large amount of aviation support across all branches, the report noted.Three years later, the project got moving and Navy reports mention that the writers were taken on a “familiarization embark” aboard a Navy ship, and in September 2015, David Ellison, Bruckheimer, and Navy officials met “to identify general story outline, desired research areas, and rough production timeline.” Following this meeting the director of the Navy’s Hollywood office authorized, “Skydance Productions the opportunity to be escorted by a DoD project Officer to USN bases/units and meet with personnel with the intent to help develop character arcs.”The writer and producers met with commanding officers and went on board the USS John C Stennis. They also made research trips to talk to real-life Top Gun instructors. Over the following months, the Navy’s updates note “Writer currently revising screenplay,” which was a result of this access. In spring 2017, talks began over the production assistance agreement – the contract between the Pentagon and the film makers—but the script still wasn’t finished and sent for formal military review until the following year.Given their existing influence over the script, the Pentagon found, “No major problems with the story line,” though they did require “some revision to characterizations and actions of Naval aviators.” The screenplay was still in progress as the film began production, so the agreement authorized support on the basis of a working draft, and the Navy required that they could, “Assign a senior staff post-command officer to review with public affairs the script’s thematics and weave in key talking points.” Despite involvement in the script’s development for several years already, the military sought even more influence. Pentagon Production Assista by SpyCulture The Navy also allowed for “internal and external placement of the Production Company’s cameras on F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets and Navy helicopters, pilots for the aircraft, a flyover by “the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron (Blue Angels)” and “water survival and ejection seat training for the film’s cast actors at approved Navy facilities.”  The new film follows a similar tack that features Cruise training a group of young pilots for a classified mission to bomb a uranium enrichment facility in an unidentified Middle Eastern country. So it is unlikely that Top Gun: Maverick will be screening in Tehran any time soon. Even the set for the “Hard Deck Bar, which features strongly in the film, was constructed on Naval Base Coronado. It was apparently stored there ever since—pending its use in promotional events around the movie’s release. Given their primary role in helping to make Top Gun: Maverick, the Navy was quite protective of their latest Hollywood mega-asset. The addendums to the agreement include a separate document authorizing Marine Corps assistance because the Marine Corps was cut out of discussions on the film by the Navy. This effort to muscle others out of the way and make the movie a solely US Navy-branded product extended to entering into social media spats with the Air Force. Evidently, Top Gun is prime cinematic real estate when it comes to promoting the military. The image of a bunch of hard-drinking, women-chasing pilots living the high-octane life grabs our attention, but Top Gun also served as one of the first post-war movies. The story was full of military characters, but it did not emphasise combat or bloodshed.By constructing a wildly popular story far removed from the brutal consequences of military action, Top Gun helped expand the possibilities for Pentagon-sponsored films.  It opened the doors to the full spectrum of Hollywood productions getting into bed with the world’s most destructive military.   Without Top Gun, we might not have seen the Pentagon widen its influence to include everything from Cake Boss (2009) to Fast & Furious (2009) and Godzilla (1998).In the original Top Gun, the only meaningful combat sequence comes at the end of the film, when the graduates of the elite pilot academy take on unidentified Southeast Asians flying MiGs. This fairly obvious reference to the Chinese Air Force led to the 3D version of Top Gun being banned in China. The Top Gun: Maverick script also makes repeated use of the phrase, “It’s not the plane, it’s the pilot,” which seems likely to be one of the Navy’s “key talking points” and a recruitment plug at a time when the US military is struggling with a pilot shortage.Both the film and slogan are part of a push to rehabilitate human pilots in the era of drone warfare, when the majority of pilots speaking out are describing endless guilt and trauma at the sheer scale of death they’ve inflicted. “All these kids must hate me, because they all signed on thinking they’re gonna be fighter pilots pulling broads all over the world, and they all ended up eleven stories down on some shitty old aircraft carrier stuck in the Indian Ocean, said Top Gun director Tony Scott in a 2004 documentary about the first movie.Top Gun: Maverick continues this by attempting to convince a new generation to sign up while conveniently avoiding the likelihood that they’ll end up stuck in a cargo container on a base in the desert murdering people by remote control. More broadly, the US military is likely hoping, as they did with the original, that “the box office will be a bell ringer for them, and it will help restore the military’s image, which has been savaged by wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and elsewhere. If the Pentagons effort succeeds, the irony will be that a movie about a ‘Maverick’ in the military was as pro-establishment as a Top Gun sequel could be. The post Documents Reveal How Pentagon Shaped Top Gun: Maverick Into A Recruitment And PR Vehicle appeared first on Shadowproof.

[Category: Latest News, National Security Cinema, Pentagon, Tom Cruise, Top Gun]

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[l] at 5/23/22 1:53pm
When a 51-year-old man entered New York’s Jefferson County Jail in December 2021, he brought his medication with him. R.G., as he is referred to in court documents, knew that without his medicine, he would quickly enter into an excruciating withdrawal.  His doctor had prescribed him Suboxone, which is a medication for treating opioid use disorder that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But R.G. said jail staff refused to let him take it. Instead, corrections staff, including a nurse practitioner, told R.G. that any suffering he would go through was his fault. “You start getting the skin crawling and the shakes and sweaties, and then comes the defecating on yourself, [you] cant make it to the bathroom to sit on the toilet and go. You just go wherever youre at. And it was horrible,” R.G. said in a phone call, adding that at one point during his withdrawal, he began to hallucinate. He said he wasn’t let out of his cell all night, despite the mess.  “Feces [were] all over the place. It smelled in there, and the only reason they let me out was because some [corrections officer] said she couldnt stand the smell of it,” he said. After speaking with R.G. and other detainees who were forced into withdrawal in the jail, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) filed a class-action suit against Jefferson County and the jail. (ShadowProof has agreed to refer to those named in NYCLU’s legal actions by their initials to protect their identities.) The lawsuit alleged the jail had imposed a blanket ban on medication for opioid use disorder and that its policy of denying non-pregnant detainees access to their medication violated protections against cruel and unusual punishment under the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the American with Disabilities Act, as well as New York State Human Rights law. “There is no good reason for Defendants not to have granted M.C.’s request to continue medically necessary treatment for his disability,” NYCLU wrote in the March lawsuit, referring to one of the plaintiffs representing the class.  Yet the experience of those incarcerated in Jefferson County was far from unique to that jail. Doctors and scientists have long known that medications for opioid use disorders (MOUD) are effective and safe treatments for opioid use disorders. Three drugs buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone are approved by the FDA for the chronic disease yet are treated as dangerous contraband in most jails and prisons. Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, the latter of which is used for reversing opioid overdoses. New York City’s Rikers Island began an opioid treatment program in 1987. The National Commission on Correctional Health Care and the National Sheriffs Association both support implementing medication-assisted treatment in incarceration settings.  Yet while people with opioid use disorders disproportionately come into contact with the criminal justice system, they’re often forced into withdrawal at the beginning of their incarceration. Of the approximately 5,000 correctional institutions across the United States, just 632 offer any form of medication for opioid use disorder, according to the Jail & Prison Opioid Project, an organization that tracks data and provides information about MOUD.  This lack of access to medication endangers incarcerated people.  A 2018 study found that in the first two weeks after release from incarceration, those previously detained were 40 times more likely to die of an opioid overdose than people in the general population. Yet studies have also shown that offering people MOUD reduces the risk of overdose after release. “It is torture, literally torture to go through withdrawal,” said Dr. Jody Rich, who helped set up Rhode Island’s groundbreaking program to screen people for use disorder upon entry into the state’s incarceration system. A study of the program’s efficacy found a 61 percent decrease in post-incarceration deaths.  People with opioid use disorder say the non-medication treatment options pushed by corrections institutions often don’t work. “I have had experiences with non-medication treatment programs, but any success with those programs was extremely short-lived—I could not escape negative thoughts and intense opioid cravings,” R.G. wrote in testimony submitted to the court.  “Receiving a therapeutic dosage of Suboxone has been effective at managing my addiction. It takes away those intense opioid cravings, regulates me, and helps me think positively. Suboxone makes me feel alive.” * Nearly 500,000 people died from opioids in 20 years between 1999 and 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even set against the backdrop of constantly increasing death tolls, the first year of the pandemic resulted in a staggering jump in opioid deaths. More than 107,600 people died from drug overdoses in 2021.  Despite the well-established science about MOUD and consistently rising opioid deaths, lawyers and medical professionals told Shadowproof that the stigma and fear of the unknown still reign supreme over science.  Legislation has begun chipping away at that stigma. A 2021 study from the O’Neill Institute at Georgetown Law found that 15 bills related to MOUD access in incarceration settings came into effect in “recent years.” When corrections departments implement MOUD programs, they’re forced to confront that stigma.  “Suboxone specifically had been kind of public enemy number one, from a correction standpoint, because thats what staff were trained to seek out and, and control and address from illicit drugs sort of perspective,” Ryan Thornell, the Deputy Commissioner of Maine Department of Corrections, said. As the state’s [prison] system began planning to implement its MOUD pilot, they surveyed staff about their perceptions of addiction and medications to treat it. The agency then used that information to debunk common misconceptions, such as the belief that MOUD replaces one addiction with another.   “Access to the appropriate medications for the disease or illness really starts to address the underlying behavior issues we see in correctional facilities,” Thornell said. “Our assault rates have gone down, our disciplines have gone down, our trafficking and diversion issues have gone down, because again, were providing the necessary medical treatment to the population, in addressing what was probably the primary underlying issue contributing to the negative behaviors in the facility.” Litigation has also made inroads. In recent years, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), along with state partners, have levied lawsuits against jails across the country. Since 2018, the ACLU has brought cases against jails in Massachusetts, Maine, and Washington to ensure that clients could continue receiving medication while in prison.  “It’s been in the last three to four years where you’ve seen some judicial movement that’s been positive,” Tammie Gregg, the Deputy Director of the ACLU’s National Prison Project, said. After the ACLU of Maine sued the state’s Department of Corrections and, in another suit, a county along the Canadian border, Governor Janet Mills signed an executive order to bolster the state’s response to the opioid epidemic. The executive order included directives for the state’s corrections infrastructure.  Between July and December 2019, the Department of Corrections (DOC) opened a pilot program that provided medication-assisted treatment to 72 people. In the last year, the program expanded to offer medication in all facilities, Thornell said. Unlike many programs in the country, the Maine DOC also initiates treatment for people who were not already prescribed MOUD. But efforts to force change through legal threat or the possibility of lawsuit have been stymied by courts. Judges may say that the litigation is premature because a person hasn’t entered the facility.  “Weve run into so many cases where theyve said it’s moot until you have a problem,” Gregg said. At the beginning of April, however, the federal Department of Justice issued forceful guidance clarifying its interpretation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The guidance clearly states that preventing an incarcerated person from continuing MOUD prescribed before they were jailed would constitute a violation of the ADA. “DOJ has been entering into really important settlement agreements with a number of healthcare entities that have been discriminating against people receiving medication for opioid use disorder. Theyve all been important. But this guidance brings it all together in one place and sends a new and very powerful signal,” Sally Friedman, the senior vice president of legal advocacy at the Legal Action Center said. Gregg agreed that the DOJ guidance could shift the way that judges approach their litigation.  “I think judges might see this guidance from DOJ as giving them a little bit more authority to act.” Susan Nyamora, the president of the South Florida Wellness Network, called the guidance “amazing” and said it would help reinforce her organization’s efforts to treat substance use disorders as chronic illnesses.   Nyamora’s community recovery organization has worked to ensure that people can continue receiving MOUD treatment after they are arrested and enter incarceration facilities, and also receive care upon release. She said that Florida’s Broward County Jail has heavily relied upon methadone and often placed people on 6-month taper plans. “I dont think that we do that for other chronic health conditions. We don’t tell a diabetic they can only be on medication for six months,” Nyamora said, adding that she hoped the potential threat of a lawsuit will lead the county to offer more robust services to detainees. * Like in Broward County, many jails across the country may offer MOUD but limit the scope of treatment available. Some facilities rely heavily on one form of medication, even though individuals may not respond to that form of MOUD.  The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections only offers medication to detainees who have been prescribed MOUD for at least 60 days prior to their entrance into the incarceration system.  “The purpose of the procedure and the qualification of two months is that we have a maintenance program,” Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Press Secretary Maria Bivens wrote in an email. “If an individual is coming in from the community and they are not on MAT maintenance in the community, they do not qualify for our maintenance program,”  Some incarceration systems will revoke access to medication as a behavioral punishment. Other times, medication is administered in a manner that undercuts its efficacy, as well as FDA recommendations.  “If youre giving a sublingual medication, you have to give it time to absorb,” Adrienne Abner, the MOUD/MAT Project Staff Attorney at the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project, said.  “What we found is that the person has been given the sublingual strip to put under their tongue, and then told immediately to drink water. Well, thats basically no treatment because they end up swallowing the medication, instead of the medication being absorbed.” In a lawsuit that predated the class-action case, the NYCLU received a preliminary injunction against Jefferson County mandating that the county provide methadone to a 36-year-old man detained in the jail. The facility provided transportation for treatment but held him in solitary confinement for five months, in what the NYCLU has alleged is retaliation. “He was counting out how many steps across his cell was. So its like, six and a half steps or something,” his partner said. “He was just pacing back and forth in his cell for a couple of hours a day to get exercise because he wasnt allowed out to exercise or anything like that.” Lawyers representing Jefferson County did not respond when contacted by email for this piece. Two staff members from the sheriffs department also did not return requests for comment. This array of potential problems administering MOUD has led some medical experts and lawyers to stress that establishing treatment programs in corrections facilities should not be seen as a replacement for combating mass incarceration.  “We certainly would never argue that people are best off getting their [substance use disorder] care or any health care in a carceral setting, as opposed to in the community,” Friedman said. But advocates stressed that further changes to federal restrictions could facilitate improved care for people receiving MOUD.  The Social Security Act currently prohibits the use of Medicaid funds to pay for services offered to incarcerated people. Doctors have argued that removing payment barriers would improve the care offered in incarceration facilities.  Eliminating the so-called inmate exemption would be a “game-changer,” Kevin Fiscella, who serves as the National Commission on Correctional Health Care’s liaison to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, said.  Allowing Medicaid funding to cover the costs of healthcare in prisons and jails would ease the financial burden of setting up new programs. Doing so could also improve medical standards,” Fiscella said.  “Right now, if you dont get federal dollars, youre not youre not subject to mandatory accreditation for the health care services.” Though the Federal Medicaid Reentry Act would partially address this funding gap by allowing states to restart Medicaid coverage 30 days prior to an individual’s release, the legislation has stalled in Washington. Last month, New York began the approval process to ask the federal government to permit the use of Medicaid dollars for carceral health services. If the request clears the state registry, then the state can submit the request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Tracie Gardner, the Legal Action Center’s Senior Vice President of Policy Advocacy, said. The funding request seeks to address the critical transition period during which incarcerated people leave a corrections institution and are susceptible to overdosing.  “Right now, under Medicaid law, [opioid treatment programs] can’t even work” with people who are incarcerated but will be imminently released, Garder said. But creating a link between treatment at a corrections center and in the community would alter the care landscape. “In my mind, at least, Correctional Health and Community Health arent linked until the transitional period is literally like youre scheduled to leave and the OTP thats waiting for you has already started processing you before youve left the corrections center.” The post Despite Worsening Opioid Crisis, Many Jails And Prisons Remain Opposed To Treatment Medications appeared first on Shadowproof.

[Category: Featured Reporting, Latest News, Prison Protest, jail healthcare, Opioid, prison healthcare]

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[l] at 5/11/22 8:48am
The post was originally published at Ongoing History Of Protest Music.Bob Vylan is a grime punk duo that recently released their second album Bob Vylan Present ThePrice Of Life.Just like their 2020 debut album, We Live Here, the album features incisive political commentary addressing issues such as systemic racism and poverty. Their songs feature radical and potent lyrics like, Wage war against the state, England’s fucking dead, let it burn, and Alexa, take me to prison.One of the albums best tracks is the song GDP, which is a poignant statement on economic policies which benefits the rich but screws over the poor. It points out the lunacy of countries that base their economic growth on gross domestic products, especially when those figures can be bolstered by negative factors, such as Russias war on Ukraine. Yeah, the BBC are talking bout the GDP. That means fuck all to me. I gotta eat. You know I gotta eat, right? the duo raps. They add, Cash rules everything around me that matters. So the purse strings are tighter than Thatchers.Pulling no punches, they declare, “Let me make it clear: This wretched system isn’t playing fair,” and “I couldn’t give a fuck if this country hates me here. They stole our people, displaced and placed us here.Singer Bobby Vylan (not to be confused with the drummer Bobbie Vylan) said of the album: Money is a tool. It’s neither good nor bad. Unfortunately, there are some people that are using it for evil and to keep other people down. Listen to and or watch Bob Vylans GDP: The post Protest Song Of The Week: GDP By Bob Vylan appeared first on Shadowproof.

[Category: Latest News, The Dissenter, The Protest Music Project, Bob Vylan, Protest Song of the Week]

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