Friday, October 31, 2014

Senate and AP demand disclosure of all cases where FBI posed as media

​Evidence that the FBI hacked a teenage suspect’s computer by sending spyware disguised as a link to a news report has prompted a prominent politician and the Associated Press to both ask the attorney general for an explanation.

Documents unearthed this week revealed that the FBI compromised the computer of a 15-year-old student in 2007 in an effort to positively identify the person thought responsible for sending bomb threats to a Washington state high school. Yet while questions were quickly raised after that revelation about the ethics involved in letting federal investigators conduct full-fledged hacking, how exactly the FBI installed spyware on their target’s computer — by sending the suspect a link disguised to look like an AP article published by the Seattle Times — has now alarmed not only the news wire, but a leading lawmaker in Washington.

Only days after details of the 2007 operation were disclosed this week, the AP and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, both sent letters to Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday expressing their concern over the FBI’s conduct.

“When law enforcement appropriates the identity of legitimate media institutions, it not only raises questions of copyright and trademark infringement but also potentially undermines the integrity and credibility of an independent press,” Leahy wrote in his letter to Holder.

"The FBI both misappropriated the trusted name of The Associated Press and created a situation where our credibility could have been undermined on a large scale," AP General Counsel Karen Kaiser wrote in the newswire’s letter. "The FBI may have intended this false story as a trap for only one person. However, the individual could easily have reposted this story to social networks, distributing to thousands of people, under our name, what was essentially a piece of government disinformation."



AP to DOJ: FBI's fabrication of news story undermined fundamental component of a free press

Facebook Scrubs Well Known Reporter’s Timeline

Eight years ago when Patti Beers joined Facebook she had no idea it would become her central link to thousands of friends.

A fan of MySpace, Beers looked for something more interactive and discovered Facebook social media was sweeping the internet. She found friends she hadn’t heard from in years and was able to connect her family in one place via Facebook.

When the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) encampments sprung up in New York City and around the country during the Fall 2011, Facebook became a natural fit for discussing views of world change, sharing ideas and organizing events. Eventually Beers began reporting on OWS protests and live-streamed events using the service UStream and had announced such live events through Facebook.

Then last week when she logged on to Facebook her timeline was ominously replaced with a message: “It looks like you’re using your timeline to represent an organization, business, brand, or public figure…we recommend converting your timeline to a Facebook page.”

She was unable to access any information on her timeline. Facebook messaged her but left no option but to convert her timeline to a “fan page.” Gone were her photos and direct access to her family and friends. Countless hours of her communications were swept away in a click: her family history, photos and chats disappeared into a Orwellian memory hole.


17 #NotARedskin Tweets Every American Needs to See

The news: On Oct. 24, the Red Circle Agency partnered with the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media (NCARSM) and uploaded a powerful video statement to YouTube, the Huffington Post reports.

The 30-second clip, titled "No Honor in Racism," illustrates the absurdity of sanctioning the term "redskin" — whether in casual speech or as the name of a multimillion-dollar sports franchise — while slurs like "nigger," "gook" and "kyke" are shunned and censored.
It's an important message in light of recent debates around the appropriation of Native American culture and iconography. But outlining the real-life extent of the damage is just as key to understanding the problem.

Enter #NotARedskin, a hashtag launched on Twitter by Native rapper and activist Frank Waln on Oct. 28.



Justice Department Reaches Agreement with the City of Albuquerque to Implement Sweeping Reforms On Use of Force By the Albuquerque Police Department

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

Friday, October 31, 2014
Justice Department Reaches Agreement with the City of Albuquerque to Implement Sweeping Reforms On Use of Force By the Albuquerque Police Department

The Justice Department today announced it has reached a comprehensive settlement agreement with the city of Albuquerque that will bring wide-ranging reforms to the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) and its use of force against civilians.  The Justice Department and the city have agreed to enter into a court-enforceable settlement agreement that will overhaul the way in which APD handles use of force by its officers following a year-long investigation into the department’s practices and letter of findings released by the Justice Department in April 2014.  Once the Albuquerque City Council considers the settlement agreement in a special session scheduled for the week of Nov. 3, the Justice Department and the city will file the settlement agreement with the United States District Court for approval and entry as an order.

"The overwhelming majority of our nation’s law enforcement officials perform their duties with exceptional courage, integrity, and professionalism—risking their lives every day to keep their communities safe,” said Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.  “But whenever a pattern of troubling conduct is uncovered, or that high standard is not met, the Department of Justice must and will take action.  The far-reaching agreement we have secured in this case will transform the culture and practices of the Albuquerque Police Department.  And I am confident that, with the cooperation of city leaders and brave law enforcement officials, we will take significant steps to restore trust with local citizens and build for Albuquerque’s residents the stronger, safer, and more secure communities that all Americans deserve.“

In addition to use of force practices, The Justice Department’s investigation found that officers routinely use deadly force and less lethal force in an unreasonable manner and that systemic deficiencies in policies, training, supervision, and oversight contributed to the pattern or practice.  Following the release of the investigative findings, the Justice Department engaged in extensive community outreach to solicit feedback and recommendations on reform from a wide variety of stakeholders, including police officers, community leaders, mental health advocates, family members, and other Albuquerque residents.  The feedback played a critical role in tailoring the settlement agreement to the unique needs of the Albuquerque community and APD.

“Today’s landmark settlement agreement will begin the process of restoring trust and cooperation between the Albuquerque community and law enforcement,” said Vanita Gupta, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.

 “Constitutional policing is key to building trust between police departments and the communities they serve, and trust is of course key to ensuring public and officer safety.  The settlement agreement provides a blue print for sustainable reform that will foster continued collaboration and participation from the community.  We thank Mayor Berry, Chief Eden, and all of the individuals who came forward to share their experiences concerning APD to make this historic settlement agreement possible.”

“We are extremely proud of our community and police department for coming together in a time of serious challenges to the city to offer their advice and recommendations on a path forward,” said Damon P. Martinez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico.  “Reform will not take place overnight and it will take time to heal our community, but we are well on our way.  Through the settlement agreement reached today, the city agrees to implement fundamental reforms in a transparent manner that will ensure that force is used in accordance with constitutional rights and that promotes greater trust among the hard working men and women of the Albuquerque Police Department and the residents they are sworn to protect.”

Under the settlement agreement, the city and APD will implement comprehensive reforms in nine substantive areas.  An independent monitoring team will be selected jointly and will oversee the reforms, which are expected to be implemented within four years.  The areas covered by the settlement agreement are:
  • Use of force: including requiring supervisors to report to the scene of uses of force; providing medical care to subjects of force immediately after an incident; improving the quality of force investigations; developing a force review board to detect and correct patterns and trends, and utilizing surrounding law enforcement agencies as part of a multi-agency task force to investigate officer-involves shootings to provide greater objectivity and accountability;
  • Specialized units: including measures that require clearly defined missions and duties for specialized tactical and investigative units; ensuring that officers are sufficiently trained to save lives in high-risk situations; and dismantling APD’s repeat offender project to restore its core mission as an investigative, rather than tactical, unit;
  • Crisis intervention: including establishing a mental health response advisory committee; providing behavioral health training to all officers, police dispatchers, and 9-1-1 operators; and maintaining groups of specially-trained first responders, detectives, and mental health professionals that provide crisis intervention and ongoing support to individuals with serious mental illness or who are chronically homeless;
  • Policies and training: including developing clear and comprehensive policies on use of force, preventing retaliation, supporting officers who report misconduct, and improving the field training program to ensure that officers develop the necessary technical and practical skills required to use force in a lawful and effective manner;
  • Internal and civilian complaint investigations: including measures to eliminate arbitrary deadlines for the submission of civilian complaints; standards for conducting objective, thorough, and timely investigations; steps to ensure that the disciplinary system is fair and consistent; and protocols to protect officers’ rights against self-incrimination;
  • Staffing and supervision: including completing a staffing and resource study to determine the appropriate allocation of resources; holding supervisors accountable for close and effective supervision; and providing guidance on the effective use of on-body recording systems to promote accountability and strengthen public trust;
  • Recruitment and promotions: including developing a strategic recruitment plan that includes clear goals, objectives, and action steps for attracting qualified applicants from a broad cross section of the community and ensuring that fair and consistent promotion practices are implemented;
  • Officer assistance and support: including measures to ensure that APD personnel have ready access to mental health services and that supervisors are trained in making referrals in a manner that minimizes stigma; and
  • Community engagement and oversight: including measures to strengthen the city’s civilian oversight process; public information programs that keep members of the public informed of APD’s progress toward reform; requirements on fostering community policing at all levels of APD; and establishing community policing councils throughout the city to ensure that meaningful feedback is obtained from the community.
The independent monitoring team will oversee the implementation of reforms, provide technical assistance, and report on the city’s compliance through periodic and public reports.  The monitoring team will have access to all documents, personnel, facilities and information related to the settlement agreement and will engage with officers and community members on an ongoing basis.  The monitoring team will also be responsible for conducting outcome assessments to determine whether the goals of the settlement agreement are being met through compliance indicators and objective measures.  The settlement agreement requires two years of sustained compliance with the agreement before the agreement may be terminated.

For more information on the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, please visit  For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico, please visit

‘First Bite’

This animated vampire tale is based on an original 18th Century written account from the Balkans.
Video by Drew Christie on Publish Date October 30, 2014. 

Happy Halloween!!!                           

FCC Ready To Compromise On Net Neutrality

Now Is The Time To Take Action To Save The Internet: Here’s The Plan

This is it. The FCC is finalizing its net neutrality proposal right now and it’s still not clear whether they’ll listen to the public or try to push a fake plan that leaves the door open for cable company censorship and abuse.
We have the next few weeks to show President Obama, the FCC, and the world that people who care about the Internet will accept nothing less than lasting net neutrality through Title II reclassification.

 We won’t back down. We won’t be silent. We won’t be fooled.

No Compromise – Full Reclassification

Here is how we are going to win Net Neutrality

1. Join the Emergency Mobilization on Thursday, November 6 at the White House in Washington, DC. We’ll meet at Lafayette Park at 6 PM. Bring your cell phone.
Over the past week in Hungary, when the government announced a steep tax on the Internet, the people rose up by the thousands and protested by holding their lit cell phones in the air. When the government announced a compromise, the people said no and came out by the tens of thousands to protest.
Take Action In Your City, Community, School. If you can’t make it to DC, then hold a cell phone protest at an FCC office near you or at one of the Giant Telecoms or in your town square or campus quad. Tweet photos of your protest using #NoCompromise. We need to show a national revolt to protect the future of the Internet.
2. Call the FCC. Our partner, Fight for the Future, is organizing a tidal wave of phone calls to  the FCC every day and it’s working. It only takes a few minutes. Click here for more details. Swamp the FCC with calls, show them the future of the Internet is something we take seriously.
3. Show that #OurVoicesMatter. Recent events, like police abuse all across the country, especially in Ferguson, MO, and the brutal militarized police response when the communities protested, were made more visible because of social media. Research by Pew shows that “Overall, 73% of African American internet users—and 96% of those ages 18-29—use a social networking site of some kind.” But the NAACP, funded by AT&T, came out on the wrong side of net neutrality. We need to counteract that by showing that people of all colors deserve to be seen and heard. The citizens media provides a counterbalance to the corporate media, don’t let the FCC take that away.
Send us a photo or video of you holding a sign that says “#OurVoicesMatter, No Compromise on Title II.” We’ll send it to the FCC and post it on our new webpage (coming soon). Send photos to
It’s that easy – 1, 2, 3 – and we can save the Internet!

This campaign is going to be escalating so watch for more information on Popular Resistance and sign the pledge to receive updates.

Equal access to the Internet without discrimination impacts every issue we work on.

Join us to ensure Internet freedom.

Mexico Is Looking For 43 Missing Students. What Has Been Found Is Truly Terrifying

After a student protest in Iguala, Mexico, last month, dozens of young men were seen being hauled off into police vans. Then, they vanished.

One month later, 43 students from the Ayotzinapa rural teachers college are still missing and presumed dead. Instead of finding the students, authorities investigating the events of Sept. 26 have instead found other horrors: a string of mass graves, police working for drug cartels and government officials at the helm of a dark underworld.

The hunt for the students has laid bare the brutality and lawlessness in parts of Mexico still under the grip of the cartels, despite years of Mexico’s war on drugs.

Read more findings:

Israeli cargo ship cancels docking at Oakland Port

Palestine solidarity movement mobilizes to “block the boat”

A significant step forward in the struggle against Israeli apartheid was taken this weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area. For the third time in less than three months, an Israeli cargo ship owned by the ZIM shipping company was prevented from unloading its cargo as scheduled.

The ZIM Beijing ship was scheduled to dock at the Port of Oakland on Oct. 25 but never showed up. The Beijing passed through the Panama Canal, turned north on course for the Port of Oakland and then after a few days traveling towards Oakland veered west on its way to destinations elsewhere.

Prepared to meet the ship at the Port of Oakland was a “welcoming” party of Palestine solidarity activists organized by the Block the Boat coalition. The Block the Boat coalition, comprised of Palestinian, Arab and pro-Palestinian activists and organizations, was formed earlier this year to highlight the role the Port of Oakland plays as an entry point for goods being shipped by the Zionist ZIM corporation. Amongst the array of goods carried by ZIM ships are materiel for local police forces in the United States.

Once it became clear over the weekend  that the ship was not arriving on or near the schedule, the coalition organized a rally and march on Oct. 26 to the port to let ZIM know what they can expect if they try to come back.

The success of the Oct. 25 mobilization comes two months after the BTB coalition organized a historic action against the ZIM Piraeus. The ship tried to dock on Aug. 16, but was prevented from unloading for four days and ultimately little if any cargo was handled.

The BTB coalition issued a press release on October 29, which read in part, “Pro-Palestinian activists in the Bay Area achieved a decisive victory over the Israeli-owned ZIM Integrated Shipping Services this past weekend. As part of a sustained organizing effort to protest Israel’s ongoing occupation and apartheid against the Palestinian people, organizers deterred the container ship ZIM Beijing from docking at the Port of Oakland.

“Members of ILWU Local 10, the union which represents dock workers at the Port of Oakland, informed BTB organizers that the ZIM Beijing has been rerouted to Russia 'to avoid disruptions at the SSA Terminal,' according to a statement by BTB. The ZIM Beijing was originally scheduled to arrive and unload its cargo at the Port of Oakland on October 25, but changed course to avoid protests that had been planned by BTB.”
In an unprecedented development, ZIM has no ships scheduled to dock at the Port of Oakland.

Oakland activists see this retreat as a victory for Palestine, and are hopeful that they have staved off ZIM for good. “This effort of Block the Boat, the Palestinian and Arab communities, and allies has truly revealed our collective power against Zionism,” says Sameh Ayesh of Arab Youth Organizing. “ZIM is the largest shipping company in Israel, and the 10th largest in the world; it is now clear to ZIM that our communities in the Bay Area will not welcome it or any other business that supports Israeli occupation and apartheid.”

The solidarity of the port workers, who have historically stood against injustice, including refusing to unload cargo carried by ships flying the racist South African apartheid flag, has been an important component of this effort. The resistance in Palestine is intensifying, and so too must our solidarity all around the world.


Edward Snowden and the Golden Age of Spying

Here’s a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! stat from our new age of national security. How many Americans have security clearances? The answer: 5.1 million, a figure that reflects the explosive growth of the national security state in the post-9/11 era. Imagine the kind of system needed just to vet that many people for access to our secret world (to the tune of billions of dollars). We’re talking here about the total population of Norway and significantly more people than you can find in Costa Rica, Ireland, or New Zealand. And yet it’s only about 1.6% of the American population, while on ever more matters, the unvetted 98.4% of us are meant to be left in the dark.
For our own safety, of course. That goes without saying.

All of this offers a new definition of democracy in which we, the people, are to know only what the national security state cares to tell us.  Under this system, ignorance is the necessary, legally enforced prerequisite for feeling protected.  In this sense, it is telling that the only crime for which those inside the national security state can be held accountable in post-9/11 Washington is not potential perjury before Congress, or the destruction of evidence of a crime, or torture, or kidnapping, or assassination, or the deaths of prisoners in an extralegal prison system, but whistleblowing; that is, telling the American people something about what their government is actually doing.  And that crime, and only that crime, has been prosecuted to the full extent of the law (and beyond) with a vigor unmatched in American history.  To offer a single example, the only American to go to jail for the CIA’s Bush-era torture program was John Kiriakou, a CIA whistleblower who revealed the name of an agent involved in the program to a reporter.

In these years, as power drained from Congress, an increasingly imperial White House has launched various wars (redefined by its lawyers as anything but), as well as a global assassination campaign in which the White House has its own “kill list” and the president himself decides on global hits.  Then, without regard for national sovereignty or the fact that someone is an American citizen (and upon the secret invocation of legal mumbo-jumbo), the drones are sent off to do the necessary killing.

And yet that doesn’t mean that we, the people, know nothing.  Against increasing odds, there has been some fine reporting in the mainstream media by the likes of James Risen and Barton Gellman on the security state’s post-legal activities and above all, despite the Obama administration’s regular use of the World War I era Espionage Act, whistleblowers have stepped forward from within the government to offer us sometimes staggering amounts of information about the system that has been set up in our name but without our knowledge.

Among them, one young man, whose name is now known worldwide, stands out.  In June of last year, thanks to journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras, Edward Snowden, a contractor for the NSA and previously the CIA, stepped into our lives from a hotel room in Hong Kong.  With a treasure trove of documents that are still being released, he changed the way just about all of us view our world.  He has been charged under the Espionage Act.  If indeed he was a “spy,” then the spying he did was for us, for the American people and for the world.  What he revealed to a stunned planet was a global surveillance state whose reach and ambitions were unique, a system based on a single premise: that privacy was no more and that no one was, in theory (and to a remarkable extent in practice), unsurveillable.

Its builders imagined only one exemption: themselves.  This was undoubtedly at least part of the reason why, when Snowden let us peek in on them, they reacted with such over-the-top venom.  Whatever they felt at a policy level, it’s clear that they also felt violated, something that, as far as we can tell, left them with no empathy whatsoever for the rest of us.  One thing that Snowden proved, however, was that the system they built was ready-made for blowback.

Sixteen months after his NSA documents began to be released by the Guardian and the Washington Post, I think it may be possible to speak of the Snowden Era.  And now, a remarkable new film, Citizenfour, which had its premiere at the New York Film Festival on October 10th and will open in select theaters nationwide on October 24th, offers us a window into just how it all happened.  It is already being mentioned as a possible Oscar winner.

Director Laura Poitras, like reporter Glenn Greenwald, is now known almost as widely as Snowden himself, for helping facilitate his entry into the world.  Her new film, the last in a trilogy she’s completed (the previous two being My Country, My Country on the Iraq War and The Oath on Guantanamo), takes you back to June 2013 and locks you in that Hong Kong hotel room with Snowden, Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill of the Guardian, and Poitras herself for eight days that changed the world.  It’s a riveting, surprisingly unclaustrophic, and unforgettable experience.

Before that moment, we were quite literally in the dark.  After it, we have a better sense, at least, of the nature of the darkness that envelops us. Having seen her film in a packed house at the New York Film Festival, I sat down with Poitras in a tiny conference room at the Loews Regency Hotel in New York City to discuss just how our world has changed and her part in it.


#TURNOUTFORWHAT – VOTE on Tuesday, November 4

Election Day is Tuesday. Are you ready? Find your polling place here.

Are you a student? Check out our state-by-state Student Voter Guide.

Have a problem or question on Election Day? Contact Election Protection at 1-866-OUR-VOTE or #ElectProtect. You can also download their mobile app to confirm your registration status, look up your polling place, and review voting rules for your state.

Make sure you get out and VOTE on November 4!


Facebook data mining for political views

Facebook is mining its data of users' posts to find out how users feel about certain candidates or issues and sharing that data with ABC News and BuzzFeed for use in their 2016 reporting, the social-networking site will announce on Friday.

The data will be gathered from the posts of Facebook users in the United States 18 and older, classifying sentiments about a politician or issue as positive, negative or neutral. The data can also be broken down into sentiments by gender and location, making it possible to see how Facebook users in the key primary states of Iowa or New Hampshire feel about certain presidential candidates, or how women in Florida feel about same-sex marriage.

"Given the volume of conversation around politics on Facebook, we believe this data truly represents what the American people think about the potential candidates. We’re excited to partner with ABC News and BuzzFeed News, who will both bring their unique journalistic perspective to this data,” Andy Mitchell, Facebook’s director of news and global media pPartnerships, said in a statement.

A Facebook spokesperson said the data "is gathered in an aggregated and depersonalized manner in a privacy safe way."


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Look up your Name on the Crosscheck Voter Purge-List‏

JIM CROW RETURNS: Millions of Minority Voters Threatened by Electoral Purge, is the most-read story ever on Al Jazeera America’s website.

If you haven’t read it yet – the results of a six-month intensive investigation – read it now.

And tonight, Thursday, at 9pm, watch reports on this investigation on Al Jazeera America's America Tonight (enter your zip code to find it on your TV).

The Palast team has ripped the lid off “Interstate Crosscheck” – a system used by 27 states, almost all under Republican control, which claims to find illegal “double voters,” those who vote in the same election in two different states.

It took months, but journalists got their hands on 2.1 million of the names of the so-called “double voters” accused by Crosscheck.

Are YOU a criminal double voter?  Look up your name right now.

Use the search boxes to search through Crosscheck lists from Georgia and Virginia. If your name appears on this list, you are a potential double voter. Voting twice is a felony, punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison. Guilty or not, voters whose names appear on these lists could be purged from voter rolls.

This is the first time these lists have been made public since the Crosscheck program began in 2005. Al Jazeera America obtained these lists through open records requests.
The total Crosscheck list contains 6,951,484 voters from 28 states. These two lists obtained by Al Jazeera America represent 1,703,958 voters.

Wrongfully Convicted African-Americans Wait Longer To Be Exonerated Than Others: Study

It took 18 years for DNA evidence to surface that cleared Derrick Williams of a rape and attempted kidnapping in Florida. Prosecutors had relied on the testimony of the victim, who identified Williams as her attacker in 1992. But he walked free at age 48 in 2011 because his DNA didn't match that left on a gray T-shirt by the actual perpetrator.

The truth might have surfaced sooner if Williams were white or Latino instead of African-American.

There's no way to know for sure, of course, but data about wrongful convictions show that blacks who are exonerated after a bogus conviction have served 12.68 years on average before the good news, according to Pamela Perez, professor of biostatistics at Loma Linda University. It takes just 9.4 years for whites and 7.87 for Latinos.
"Black Americans are exonerated at a substantially slower rate than any other race," said a new report from Perez, shown exclusively to The Huffington Post.
There's enough of a pattern that the differences between racial groups cannot be called random, Perez said. But there isn't enough information to explain what caused the differences.

"All we can do is infer," Perez told HuffPost. "You can't prove a darn thing."
She discovered the different timespans by examining 1,450 exonerations listed on the National Registry of Exonerations through Oct. 20, 2014. Perez conducted the research for, a consumer research group.


Unite for Democracy and March Against Corruption

On Nov. 1, everywhere, people will unite for democracy and human dignity during a week of direct action and nonviolent resistance to fight corruption.March Against Corruption is a worldwide campaign starting Nov. 1 through and including election day and the Million Mask March (Nov. 5).

Here is how to get involved:

Step One: RSVP to our official Facebook event page and invite all of your friends. Join the March Against Corruption Organizers Group.

Step Two: Get organized locally. Plan and pick your event's date / time / location, create an event page then send us the URL and event info so we can add it to our web map.

To learn how to create an event on Facebook, click here.

For a list of events in your area, find them here.

The international campaign is aimed to raise awareness about the corrupting influence of money and special interests in governance and public policy making; to provide a forum for people to organize and speak out against corruption; and to educate the public about the consequences of corruption. And it prides itself on partaking in nonviolent resistance.

Be sure to Be sure to include the following hashtags in your social media posts and captions so they enter our stream of anti-corruption consciousness:



No Judge, No Jury, No Trial‏

Since 2004 drone strikes have killed 2,379 human beings. Of those thousands killed, a mere 12% could be positively identified as “militants."¹
The evidence is clear: drone strikes are killing innocent civilians. Over and over and over again. 
These innocents are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and grandmas. They are NOT terrorists.
The number of US airstrikes in Pakistan has been declining in volume every year but there is still much more work to be done.² We need to continue to ramp up the public pressure against drone strikes.
¹ "Only 4% of drone victims in Pakistan named as al Qaeda members" by Jack Serle. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. 10.16.14
² "Charting the data for US airstrikes in Pakistan, 2004 - 2014" by Bill Roggio. The Long War Journal


Protect Native American Burial Ground

For nearly a decade, the sacred Native American grounds of Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa have been undergoing illegal construction. Costing approximately three million dollars, this construction took place under the watch of the National Park Service, who have done nothing to stop it.

The illegal construction consisted of installing boardwalks and other structures around the park, partly to make the park more handicapped-accessible. The park did not properly conduct archaeological research before the construction, which infringes on ancient burial mounds in the park.

Tim Mason, a park ranger who worked at the monument in the past, filed a complaint when he saw boardwalks and other structures being installed in the park. This led to a criminal investigation by a Park Service special agent, who found that the construction was violating federal and state laws, including the National Historic Preservation Act. The National Park Service is currently creating a corrective plan to ensure that nothing like this occurs again in the future.

Much damage has been done to the Effigy Mounds National Monument over the course of the past decade, and considerable restorative work needs to be done to correct this destruction. Please sign the petition below to urge the current park’s superintendent to plan and work toward restoring the sacred conditions of the park.


Thousands of Hungarians Are Taking a Bold Stand Against a Modern Threat to Freedom

Tens of thousands of Hungarians marched Tuesday in Budapest to protest the government's plan to tax Internet use. The government claims the tax will help reduce the country's debt, but many Hungarians just see it as an effort to restrict their freedom of speech and expression.

Protesters held up makeshift banners that read "ERROR!" and "How many times do you want to skin us?" Reuters reported. More than 100,000 Hungarians rallied in what experts say shows a growing discontent among younger citizens against Prime Minister Viktor Orban's policies to centralize power and shrink private enterprise.
Amid the growing public outcry, Orban's administration has denied any anti-democratic agendas.
...It's not just Hungarians who are worried about threats to the Internet. Preserving a free and open Internet is a major issue in the U.S., where the debate on network neutrality pits consumers against large telecom companies that aim to exploit technologies by monitoring and controlling data sent via their networks. Certain companies will have to pay to use "fast lanes," a paid prioritization model that will make companies pay for better, smoother access for consumers.
In addition to potentially rising costs, telecom companies including Comcast, Verizon and AT&T are also censoring information, according to evidence of abuses gathered by the American Civil Liberties Union. In late 2007, Verizon Wireless took away access for a text-messaging program by the pro-abortion rights group NARAL, which the group used to send messages to its supporters. 
In the same year, Comcast, the nation's largest cable TV operator, discriminated against an entire class of online activities by blocking file transfers from customers using popular peer-to-peer networks such as BitTorrent, eDonkey and Gnutella.
To prevent against blocking or discrimination, the Federal Communications Commission acted in recent years to enforce rules. But in January, a major court decision stripped the FCC of its power to enforce network neutrality protections under the regulatory framework it was using, the ACLU documented.
If the FCC's proposal passes at the end of the year, it would end up greatly restricting how Americans use the Internet.
During the height of the Arab Spring in the Middle East, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that Internet access was a fundamental human right. For the thousands of Hungarians that took to the streets this week — and thousands of Americans fretting over net neutrality at home — these policies aren't just an inconvenience: They're a threat to democracy as we know it.

Jim Crow returns: Millions of minority voters threatened by electoral purge

Election officials in 27 states, most of them Republicans, have launched a program that threatens a massive purge of voters from the rolls. Millions, especially black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters, are at risk. Already, tens of thousands have been removed in at least one battleground state, and the numbers are expected to climb, according to a six-month-long, nationwide investigation by Al Jazeera America.

At the heart of this voter-roll scrub is the Interstate Crosscheck program, which has generated a master list of nearly 7 million names. Officials say that these names represent legions of fraudsters who are not only registered but have actually voted in two or more states in the same election — a felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison.

Until now, state elections officials have refused to turn over their Crosscheck lists, some on grounds that these voters are subject to criminal investigation. Now, for the first time, three states — Georgia, Virginia and Washington — have released their lists to Al Jazeera America, providing a total of just over 2 million names.

The Crosscheck list of suspected double voters has been compiled by matching names from roughly 110 million voter records from participating states. Interstate Crosscheck is the pet project of Kansas’ controversial Republican secretary of state, Kris Kobach, known for his crusade against voter fraud.

The three states’ lists are heavily weighted with names such as Jackson, Garcia, Patel and Kim — ones common among minorities, who vote overwhelmingly Democratic. Indeed, fully 1 in 7 African-Americans in those 27 states, plus the state of Washington (which enrolled in Crosscheck but has decided not to utilize the results), are listed as under suspicion of having voted twice. This also applies to 1 in 8 Asian-Americans and 1 in 8 Hispanic voters. White voters too — 1 in 11 — are at risk of having their names scrubbed from the voter rolls, though not as vulnerable as minorities.

If even a fraction of those names are blocked from voting or purged from voter rolls, it could alter the outcome of next week’s electoral battle for control of the U.S. Senate — and perhaps prove decisive in the 2016 presidential vote count.

“It’s Jim Crow all over again,” says the Rev. Joseph Lowery, who cofounded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Martin Luther King, Jr. Lowery, now 93, says he recognizes in the list of threatened voters a sophisticated new form of an old and tired tactic. “I think [the Republicans] would use anything they can find. Their desperation is rising.”


With US Women Soon Eligible for Combat, the Draft Could Be Next

As Norway became the first NATO country to require women to register for the draft this month, it has American military analysts debating whether the US could be on the verge of taking the same step, too.

It was back in 1981 that the US Supreme Court ruled that requiring only men to register for the draft was constitutional, since there were US laws that banned women from fighting in combat.

Essentially, the argument went, since the purpose of registration for selective service – which all men must do at the age of 18, regardless of whether there is a draft in effect – is to prepare for combat, and women are excluded from combat, then they would not be needed in the event of a draft.

But with the Pentagon’s decision to lift the ban on women in combat by January 2016 – and its move in recent months to open a number of jobs to female troops previously held only by men – those Supreme Court arguments from 33 years ago may no longer apply, analysts note, adding that mandatory registration for the draft may be the next logical step.


Blocking the youth vote in the South

First they were supposed to vote early -- in a nightclub. Then students, employees, and faculty at North Carolina's Appalachian State University were supposed to vote early a mile from the farthest edge of campus, in a county building that had little parking. Then, after students filed a lawsuit, a state judge intervened, saying that the county board of election's decision to end early voting in the on-campus student union -- after eight years of allowing it -- could have no purpose but to disenfranchise students and was unconstitutional. That decision, however, was not the final word. It was put on hold by an appeals court, and then the North Carolina Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

By that time, the Watauga County Board of Elections had decided to restore on-campus early voting -- a practice it had eliminated by a partisan vote pushed by the board's Republican majority. Appalachian State is the largest employer in Watauga County, and its students make up roughly 40 percent of the county's population, but their preference for Democratic candidates does not jibe with the rest of the county's Republican tilt. In 2012, about 35 percent of the county's early votes were cast at the Appalachian State student union.

But after all the chaos, it turns out that Appalachian State students are the lucky ones: They are some of the only students in North Carolina who will be able to vote early on campus this year. Early voting sites have been eliminated on college campuses across North Carolina and the South, part of a broader effort by local elections officials and state lawmakers to erect new barriers to voting. The new policies, which run the gamut from shortened early voting periods to strict voter ID requirements, disproportionately affect young voters -- and especially youth of color.


The Green Monster: How the Border Patrol became America’s most out-of-control law enforcement agency

Gil Kerlikowske was hoping to make it through at least his first week on the job without being awakened in the middle of the night. President Barack Obama’s new head of Customs and Border Protection, Kerlikowske could have used a week of quiet as he began to figure out the nation’s largest law enforcement agency, with its 46,000 gun-carrying Customs officers and Border Patrol agents and massive $12.4 billion annual budget. He didn’t get it. On his sixth night after taking office in March, a Border Patrol agent’s single gunshot 1,500 miles away from Washington interrupted Kerlikowske’s sleep. The gunshot itself wasn’t all that surprising; Border Patrol agents regularly open fire on suspected smugglers, border crossers and people harassing them from across the Mexican line. So often, in fact, that the agency doesn’t even bother to release details on most shooting incidents. But this wasn’t a regular shooting incident.

Early the day before, while Kerlikowske, an affable career cop who had spent five years as Obama’s drug czar, was going about his meetings in CBP’s headquarters at Washington’s cavernous Ronald Reagan Building, three Honduran women had surrendered to a green-uniformed U.S. Border Patrol agent in the Rio Grande Valley.

That, too, was a common occurrence. “RGV,” as it’s known in the Border Patrol, has been the epicenter of this year’s “border crisis,” the latest in a long series that stretches back decades—crises that inevitably lead to calls for more money, more agents, more fences. In this year’s iteration, tens of thousands of people fleeing the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have journeyed through Mexico to turn themselves in at the U.S. border seeking asylum. Many of the refugees have been unaccompanied minors (“UACs” to the bureaucracy), a fact that strained the U.S. government response and unleashed critical 24-hour cable media coverage. RGV had been particularly flooded, and so the detention of the three Honduran women—a mother, her 14-year-old daughter and a second teen—around midday on March 12 shouldn’t have been anything other than routine.

Except that they surrendered to Esteban Manzanares.

Manzanares, a stocky 32-year-old agent who kept his head shaved short, was already under suspicion for misconduct—colleagues suspected he had let two border violators go free—but there was a huge backlog of misconduct cases at the inspector general’s field office in McAllen, Texas, and Manzanares was but one small unconfirmed red flag amid many along the southern border, so even under suspicion, he remained on duty with the Border Patrol.

Rather than detain the three Honduran women and bring them to the McAllen holding center, a 300-bed unit that some nights this spring hosted more than 1,000 people, Manzanares locked the women in the back of his Ford patrol truck—and drove them around the scrubland surrounding McAllen for an hour or two. It was a perfectly lovely South Texas day—sunny, low 70s, a bit cool for that time of year.

At 3:15 p.m., Manzanares texted his ex-wife, saying he wanted to be a good dad to their two children: “I want to help in any way I can but I am very limited.”

Then he stopped his truck in a wooded area. He raped both the mother and the daughter. He slit the mother’s wrists and tried to break the daughter’s neck, leaving them for dead in the brush.

Read more:

Snowden: Civil Disobedience Must Be Disobedience To Be Effective

The Nation Magazine published an interview with National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, and one of the parts that is most remarkable is his commentary on civil disobedience and the movement that was ignited in 2011 by Occupy Wall Street.

First off, there have been numerous interviews published with Snowden at this point. He appeared in a major television interview with Brian Williams for NBC Nightly News. He was interviewed by journalist and NSA historian James Bamford for a feature story that appeared in Wired Magazine. A documentary directed by Laura Poitras called Citizenfour has opened in select cities and will be opening in a few more cities next weekend. It apparently is so powerful that it has the capacity to change one’s view that Snowden is a traitor.

But this interview conducted by Nation editor-in-chief Katrina vanden Heuvel and Stephen Cohen is different than those interviews in that it seeks to explore his views on politics, government and the role of citizens in society in a manner which complements what many already know about what he did.

“We are a representative democracy. But how did we get there? We got there through direct action. And that’s enshrined in our Constitution and in our values,” Snowden declares.

“We have the right of revolution. Revolution does not always have to be weapons and warfare; it’s also about revolutionary ideas. It’s about the principles that we hold to be representative of the kind of world we want to live in. A given order may at any given time fail to represent those values, even work against those values. I think that’s the dynamic we’re seeing today.”

Snowden adds, “We have these traditional political parties that are less and less responsive to the needs of ordinary people, so people are in search of their own values. If the government or the parties won’t address our needs, we will. It’s about direct action, even civil disobedience.”

Yet, Snowden argues the state can then come in and determine what is “legitimate civil disobedience” and require citizens to follow certain rules.


Coast Salish Unite Against Kinder Morgan Tar Sands Pipeline

The Coast Salish peoples of the Pacific Northwest are the traditional canoe pullers. They are the cedar people. The salmon nation.

Their nearly 60,000 people have lived along the coasts of Oregon and Washington State, and in British Columbia, Canada for more than 10,000 years. They are united by language, culture and the Salish Sea.

And now, in addition, they are united in their opposition to oil giant Kinder Morgan’s proposed $5.4 billion expansion of its existing Trans Mountain tar sands oil pipeline, which links the Alberta oil sands fields to a shipping terminal in Burnaby, near Vancouver, B.C. The new pipeline would nearly triple the capacity of the existing pipeline from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000, increasing by sevenfold the number of tankers carrying diluted tar sands bitumen through the Salish Sea in Washington and Canada.

“It’s not if, but when, one of these tankers runs aground somewhere,” Brian Cladoosby, chairman of the Swinomish Tribal Community on Fidalgo Island in northern Puget Sound, told Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB), the federal regulatory agency charged with reviewing the project.

Such an event would very likely lead to “irreparable damage to salmon and shellfish habitat, and destroy our way of life along with it,” Cladoosby, who is also president of the National Congress of American Indians, told the NEB. “We can no longer allow the Salish Sea to be used as a dumping ground.”

Tribal leaders from four Coast Salish tribes in Washington, as well as elders, fishers and youth, joined Cladoosby in testifying before the NEB in Chilliwack, British Columbia on October 22. The Salish Sea is a network of waterways between the southwestern tip of British Columbia and the northwestern tip of Washington State, and includes the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Haro Strait, the Strait of Georgia and the Puget Sound.


Cree Building Opposition To Uranium Mining In Quebec

Cree leaders in Quebec are taking to social media to drum up support for their campaign against uranium development in their territory.

The community leaders say they may be far from urban centres — anywhere from an eight to 18-hour drive north of Montreal — but almost everyone has access to high speed internet and 3G cell service.

They want to make sure Crees show up and voice their concerns when the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) province-wide hearings into the uranium industry come to northern Quebec next month.

They’re also using Twitter to spread the word and gain support outside of Cree territory.

“We are encouraging the Cree Nation to participate in this important public process and to tell the BAPE what the Crees are thinking about uranium development in Eeyou Istchee,” said Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come.

The Cree government has launched a website and social media campaign, #StandAgainstUranium. They are asking people to take selfies with the Stand Against Uranium sign.

“The Crees are only one voice and so we are seeking allies,” said Coon Come.


Racism in the US criminal justice system‏

Earlier this week the ACLU, Lawyers’ Committee, NAACP, and the ABA participated in a hearing initiated by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on Reports of Racism in the Justice System of the United States. The video of the hearing is available here. The ACLU of Michigan presented a powerful video testimony of Jewel Hall, mother of Milton Hall, an African American homeless man with mental disabilities who was killed in July 2012 by 8 police officers in a firing squad-type shooting. At the hearing, the DOJ was pressed to reopen their criminal civil rights investigation and to hold police officers accountable. You can read more about this this case in the written submission of the ACLU of Michigan.

Also, in conjunction with this hearing the ACLU submitted a written statement on
racial disparities in sentencing.


This Halloween: We Are Not a Costume!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

No Honor in Racism

A new YouTube video released by the Red Circle Agency and the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media compares the controversial Redskins name to that of other historic racial slurs. “I was tired of people avoiding what I think is the real issue. There is no word in the American lexicon that is more hurtful to the Native American,” said Chad Germann, owner of Red Circle Ad Agency and member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, in a statement.

The ad features people saying different slurs for a number of minority groups and pointing out that they are banned from television.

It is just the latest in YouTube videos, television ads and more in a campaign to change the team’s name. Protesters, according to USA TODAY Sports’ Erik Brady, are planning a rally against the name on Sunday when the Redskins play the Vikings.

Click here to read more USA TODAY Sports coverage of the protest.

The 90s and Now: FBI and its Inability to Cope with Encryption

Recently, FBI Director James B. Comey, along with several government officials, have issued many public statements regarding their inability to catch criminals due to Apple and Google offering default encryption to their consumers.

We at EFF have been around long enough to see these nearly identical statements being made in the past, and have simultaneously witnessed law enforcement agencies not rendered obsolete. In fact, we’ve seen the exact opposite. The tools available to the law enforcement today are expansive and are much scarier, and require close scrutiny to ensure that civil liberties of millions of people are not jeopardized in the process of catching a few bad guys.

But we certainly felt a bit of déjà vu when we saw current FBI Director Comey’s statements, since they sound eerily like the sentiments expressed by then FBI Director Louis J. Freeh in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in July 1997.  Specifically:

Founding Fathers Wouldn’t Want Us to Have Encryption
A repeated talking point is that the Founding Fathers of America would side with the law enforcement in finding a ‘balance’, that ensures government access to all communications.
In 1997 former Director Freeh said:
… the framers established a delicate balance between "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects (today we might add personal computers, modems, data streams, discs, etc.) against unreasonable searches and seizures." Those precious rights, however, were balanced against the legitimate right and necessity of the police, acting through strict legal process, to gain access by lawful search and seizure to the conversations and stored evidence of criminals, spies and terrorists.
In 2014 Director Comey said:
But the way I see it, the means by which we conduct surveillance through telecommunication carriers and those Internet service providers who have developed lawful intercept solutions is an example of government operating in the way the founders intended...
This is striking to us because even a minimal glance at history reveals that the opposite is true. Thomas Jefferson invented (and used) a wheel cypher. More importantly, it was reportedly frustration with the British resolution of 1785 authorizing the Department of Foreign Affairs to open and inspect any mail related to the safety and interests of the United States that led James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe to write to each other in code.

In fact, in the 1999 decision throwing out the government’s export regulations on encryption in EFF’s case Bernstein v. Department of Justice, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals noted:  “The availability and use of secure encryption may…reclaim some portion of the privacy we have lost. Government efforts to control encryption thus may well implicate not only the First Amendment rights…but also the constitutional rights of each of us as potential recipients of encryption's bounty."

Private Companies Providing Strong Encryption are Ignorant and Dangerous
Private companies and actors, when providing robust privacy and security for their consumers, need to be educated about their responsibilities to help law enforcement, and Congress and other regulatory bodies should step in.
1997 Freeh:
Encryption is certainly a commercial interest of great importance to this great nation. But it's not merely a commercial or business issue. To those of us charged with the protection of public safety and national security, encryption technology and its application in the information age--here at the dawn of the 21st century and thereafter--will become a matter of life and death in many instances which will directly impact on our safety and freedoms. Good and sound public policy decisions about encryption must be made now by the Congress and not be left to private enterprise. Legislation which carefully balances public safety and private enterprise must be established with respect to encryption.
2014 Comey:
We understand the private sector’s need to remain competitive in the global marketplace. And it isn’t our intent to stifle innovation or undermine U.S. companies. But we have to find a way to help these companies understand what we need, why we need it, and how they can help, while still protecting privacy rights and providing network security and innovation. We need our private sector partners to take a step back, to pause, and to consider changing course.
We also need a regulatory or legislative fix to create a level playing field, so that all communication service providers are held to the same standard and so that those of us in law enforcement, national security, and public safety can continue to do the job you have entrusted us to do, in the way you would want us to.
Similar arguments are also made in conjunction with the FBI’s desire to turn companies into an extension of the agency by pushing for unraveling the protections provided to companies and free and open source projects to make strong tools under CALEA.

FBI Needs Weak Encryption Because of Terrorism
And despite the 17 year time gap, both men gave very similar reasons for trying to discourage companies from offering their customers tools to protect themselves, playing the politics of fear.
1997 Freeh:
We believe that unless a balanced approach to encryption is adopted… the ability of law enforcement to investigate and sometimes prevent the most serious crimes and terrorism will be severely impaired. Our national security will also be jeopardized.
2014 Comey:
Those charged with protecting our people aren’t always able to access the evidence we need to prosecute crime and prevent terrorism even with lawful authority…. And if the challenges of real-time interception threaten to leave us in the dark, encryption threatens to lead all of us to a very dark place.
Yet instead of giving any actual examples of terrorism cases, both men could only muster edge cases in their pitch for weakening encryption. The Intercept did an analysis of some of the examples given by Comey, and the results were less than convincing; in none of the cases was the absence of encryption the key to solving the crime.

Finally, Comey makes a plea to have an open and honest debate about liberty and security because ‘post-Snowden pendulum has swung too far in one direction—in a direction of fear and mistrust (of Government).’ But this framing of the debate is somewhat dishonest given that not a single legislation has been passed by Congress to curtail the dragnet surveillance of millions of innocent Americans and the only entities that have taken significant action to curtail mass surveillance on a national level have been private companies.

So the FBI is just running the same old line against encryption. Luckily, the nation didn’t fall for it in the 1990s and we shouldn’t fall for it now.


Murder Convictions Vacated for Two Washington, D.C. Men

A decade after Gary Gathers and Keith Mitchell were convicted of murder, a Washington, D.C. appeals court reversed their convictions Wednesday, finding that prosecutors relied on false evidence at trial.
The Legal Times reported that the pair was first found guilty in 1994 of the fatal shooting of Wayne Ballard while he was sitting in a car at a traffic light. The District of Columbia Court of Appeals upheld the convictions in 1997. This time when the case was reviewed by the appeals court, a three-judge panel found that prosecutors repeatedly made use of false testimony from a police officer about the defendants' alleged motive.
At trial, the prosecution claimed that the men wanted to kill Ballard in an effort to prevent him from testifying against Gathers' brother in a murder case. A police officer testified that Ballard's name was mentioned as a cooperating witness in an early hearing in the brother's case. But this was not true. Ballard's name was never used. He was only referred to as "the driver." The trial prosecutor cited the officer's testimony as proof of a and the government repeated the false information in its brief during the first appeal.
"It is markedly disquieting to think that appellants should stand convicted on what is plainly false evidence highly prejudicial to the outcome where the government knew or should have known of the falsity, however belatedly this falsity may have come to the forefront," Senior Judge John Steadman wrote in the Oct. 23 opinion.
Lawyers for Gathers and Mitchell say they'll continue fighting for full exonerations. The Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project has been involved in Gathers' post-conviction defense since 2010.
Shawn Armbrust, executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, credited the U.S. attorney's office with making some progress over the years in being careful about mistakes during trial and in meeting its obligations to turn over favorable information to the defense. Still, she said the case was a reminder of the need to be vigilant.
"It just means that even when an office has the best of intentions, even when people have the best of intentions, sometimes people do the wrong thing," Armbrust said. "It's a sign we need procedures in place to make sure that doesn't continue to happen."

I Will Ask - The Peoples Global Campaign for Clemency for Leonard Peltier

President Obama
has the power to grant
clemency to Leonard Peltier!
YOU have the power to convince President Obama to do the right thing!
Beginning on December 10th—Human Rights Day—we'll remind President Obama that an innocent Native American has been imprisoned for nearly 40 years in violation of his human rights. That's a problem, but the solution is simple. President Obama can and must right the wrongs of the past by granting clemency to Leonard Peltier.
We need everyone's help.  Ask for clemency for Leonard Peltier.

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Ed Snowden Taught Me To Smuggle Secrets Past Incredible Danger. Now I Teach You.

Late on the evening of January 11, 2013, someone sent me an interesting email. It was encrypted, and sent from the sort of anonymous email service that smart people use when they want to hide their identity. Sitting at the kitchen table in the small cottage where I lived in Berkeley with my wife and two cats, I decrypted it.
The anonymous emailer wanted to know if I could help him communicate securely with Laura Poitras, the documentary filmmaker who had repeatedly cast a critical eye on American foreign policy.
From: anon108@■■■■■■■■■
To: Micah Lee
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2013
I’m a friend. I need to get information securely to Laura Poitras and her alone, but I can’t find an email/gpg key for her.
Can you help?
I didn’t know it at the time, but I had just been contacted by Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency contractor who was then preparing a momentous leak of government data.

A month earlier, Snowden had anonymously emailed Glenn Greenwald, a Guardian journalist and chronicler of war-on-terror excesses, but Greenwald didn’t use encryption and didn’t have the time to get up to speed, so Snowden moved on. As is now well known, Snowden decided to contact Poitras because she used encryption. But he didn’t have her encryption key, as is necessary to send someone encrypted email, and the key wasn’t posted on the web. Snowden, extraordinarily knowledgeable about how internet traffic is monitored, didn’t want to send her an unencrypted email, even if just to ask for her key. So he needed to find someone he thought he could trust who both had her key and used encrypted email.

That was me.

And as it turned out, several months later I was drawn more deeply into the whole thing, when Snowden got back in touch and asked me to work with him to launch an online anti-surveillance petition.

Until now, I haven’t written about my modest role in the Snowden leak, but with the release of Poitras’ documentary on him, “Citizenfour,” I feel comfortable connecting the dots. I think it’s helpful to show how privacy technologists can work with sources and journalists to make it possible for leaks to happen in a secure way. Securing those types of interactions is part of my job now that I work with Greenwald and Poitras at The Intercept, but there are common techniques and general principles from my interactions with Snowden that could serve as lessons to people outside this organization.