Friday, April 27, 2012

Chrishaun "CeCe" McDonald stands trial for defending herself against racist, transphobic, homophic attackers...



A transgender African-American woman is set to go on trial next week on charges of second-degree murder for an altercation after she was reportedly physically attacked and called racist and homophobic slurs outside a Minneapolis bar last year. Chrishaun "CeCe" McDonald received 11 stitches to her cheek, and was reportedly interrogated without counsel and placed in solitary confinement following her arrest. There were reports that the dead victim, Dean Schmitz, had a swastika tattooed on his chest. McDonald’s supporters say the case is symptomatic of the bias against transgender people and African Americans in the criminal justice system. “People were very enraged about what happened to her, and refusal of Hennepin County to recognize her right to self-defense,” says Katie Burgess, executive director of Trans Youth Support Network, who has helped draw attention the case and notes Transgender people of color are twice as likely to experience discrimination as their white peers. We also speak with Raven Cross, one of McDonald’s best friends.

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How to survive a plague - a documentary about the history of AIDS activism



The 25th anniversary of the formation of ACT UP recently passed and Democracy Now did a piece on this documentary.



This weekend marks the 25th anniversary of ACT UP — the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power — an international direct action advocacy group formed by a coalition of activists outraged over the government’s mismanagement of the AIDS crisis. We speak with ACT UP founding member Peter Staley, one of the longest AIDS survivors in the country; and David France, director of the new documentary "How to Survive a Plague," which tells a remarkable history of AIDS activism and how it changed the country. "I’m alive because of that activism," Staley says of the triple drug therapy he was able to take. "This was a major victory this movie tells about getting these therapies. But that was only the beginning of the battle. Now we have these treatments that can keep people alive, and there are still two to three million dying every year. There are more dying now than when we actually got the therapies to save people. So it’s a huge failure of leadership internationally. And it shows a failure of our own healthcare system."

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Leave it to me to join a site for kinksters...

...only to spend 95% of my time writing about the political, oppression, organizing and tracking down other politicized people.

Not sure if I'd call it a fetish, exactly. But it is nurturing to not have to step away from incorporating how desire complicates, problematizes and generally messes with the nice neat boxes articulate as their politics.

Mine happen to be so messy and layered. Being in a place where I can write this without having to defend the very existence of desires, rather than get all up in what it means to be a politico and have them, is such a relief.

All this to say, so sorry I've been neglecting my homeworld. I went questing and fell of the edge of the world...again. :)




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Amerikkkan citizens (and probably also kkkanadian citizens): The Obama administration has copies of most of your emails...




National Security Agency whistleblower William Binney reveals he believes domestic surveillance has become more expansive under President Obama than President George W. Bush. He estimates the NSA has assembled 20 trillion "transactions" — phone calls, emails and other forms of data — from Americans. This likely includes copies of almost all of the emails sent and received from most people living in the United States. Binney talks about Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and challenges NSA Director Keith Alexander’s assertion that the NSA is not intercepting information about U.S. citizens. This interview is part of a 4-part special. Click here to see segment 1, 2, and 4.


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FBI seizes riseup.net server...

from infoshop.org...

Server Seizure, April 2012: April 18th, 2012, Riseup had a server seized by the US Federal Authorities. This is our press release.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FBI seizes server providing anonymous remailer and many other services from colocation facility.

Attack on Anonymous Speech

On Wednesday, April 18, at approximately 16:00 Eastern Time, U.S. Federal authorities removed a server from a colocation facility shared by Riseup Networks and May First/People Link in New York City. The seized server was operated by the European Counter Network (“ECN”), the oldest independent internet service provider in Europe, who, among many other things, provided an anonymous remailer service, Mixmaster, that was the target of an FBI investigation into the bomb threats against the University of Pittsburgh.

“The company running the facility has confirmed that the server was removed in conjunction with a search warrant issued by the FBI,” said May First/People Link director Jamie McClelland. “The server seizure is not only an attack against us, but an attack against all users of the Internet who depend on anonymous communication.”

Disrupted in this seizure were academics, artists, historians, feminist groups, gay rights groups, community centers, documentation and software archives and free speech groups. The server included the mailing list “cyber rights” (the oldest discussion list in Italy to discuss this topic), a Mexican migrant solidarity group, and other groups working to support indigenous groups and workers in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa. In total, over 300 email accounts, between 50-80 email lists, and several other websites have been taken off the Internet by this action. None are alleged to be involved in the anonymous bomb threats.

“The FBI is using a sledgehammer approach, shutting down service to hundreds of users due to the actions of one anonymous person,” said Devin Theriot-Orr, a spokesperson for Riseup. “This is particularly misguided because there is unlikely to be any information on the server regarding the source of the threatening emails.”

“We sympathize with the University of Pittsburgh community who have had to deal with this frightening disruption for weeks. We oppose such threatening actions. However, taking this server won’t stop these bomb threats. The only effect it has is to also disrupt e-mail and websites for thousands of unrelated people,” continues Mr. Theriot-Orr. “Furthermore, the network of anonymous remailers that exists is not harmed by taking this machine. So we cannot help but wonder why such drastic action was taken when authorities knew that the server contained no useful information that would help in their investigation.”

The FBI purportedly seized the server because it was hosting an anonymous remailer called Mixmaster. Anonymous remailers are used to send email anonymously, or pseudonymously. Like other anonymizing services such as the Tor network, these remailers are widely used to protect the identity of human rights activists who place themselves and their families in grave danger by reporting information about abuses. Remailers are also important for corporate whistle blowers, democracy activists working under repressive regimes, and others to communicate vital information that would otherwise go un-reported.

The Mixmaster software is specifically designed to make it impossible for anyone to trace the emails. The system does not record logs of connections, details of who sent messages, or how they were routed. This is because the Mixmaster network is specifically designed to resist censorship, and support privacy and anonymity. Unfortunately, some people misuse the network. However, compared to the rate of legitimate use, the abuse rate is very low. There is therefore no legitimate purpose for the FBI to seize this server because they will not be able to obtain any information about the sender. This is plainly extra-judicial punishment and an attack on free speech and anonymity on the internet and serves as a chilling effect on others providers of anonymous remailers or other anonymous services.

In absence of any other leads, the FBI needs to show that they are making progress in this case, and this has meant seizing a server so they can proudly demonstrate they are taking some action. But what this incident shows is they are grasping at straws and are willing to destroy innocent bystanders for the sake of protecting their careers.

About the organizations involved

MayFirst/People Link (mayfirst.org) is a politically-progressive member-run and controlled organization that redefines the concept of “Internet Service Provider” in a collective and collaborative way. May First/People Link’s members are organizers and activists who elect a Leadership Committee to direct the organization. Like a coop, members pay dues, buy equipment and then share that equipment for websites, email, email lists, and other Internet purposes.

Riseup Networks (riseup.net) provides online communication tools for people and groups working on liberatory social change. Riseup creates democratic alternatives and practices self-determination by controlling our own secure means of communications.

ECN (European Counter Network – ecn.org) is the oldest independent service provider in Europe providing free email accounts, mailing lists, and websites to organizations, activists, and movements that are involved in human rights, freedom of speech and information in Italy and Europe. ECN is anti-fascist and works towards a just and equal society. Years ago, before sites like Youtube and Vimeo existed, ECN created a platform called NGV where people could upload and share independent video of human rights violations. Nowadays ECN works primarily with anti-fascist and anti-Nazi movements in all of Europe, providing space and resources to political and social centers.

Questions / further reading

Q: Doesn’t Mixmaster/anonymous remailers enable criminals to do bad things?

A: Criminals can already do bad things. Since they’re willing to break laws, they already have lots of options available that provide better privacy than mixmaster provides. They can steal cell phones, use them, and throw them in a ditch; they can crack into computers in Korea or Brazil and use them to launch abusive activities; they can use spyware, viruses, and other techniques to take control of literally millions of Windows machines around the world.

Mixmaster aims to provide protection for ordinary people who want to follow the law. Only criminals have privacy right now, and we need to fix that.

Some advocates of anonymity explain that it’s just a tradeoff — accepting the bad uses for the good ones — but there’s more to it than that. Criminals and other bad people have the motivation to learn how to get good anonymity, and many have the motivation to pay well to achieve it. Being able to steal and reuse the identities of innocent victims (identify theft) makes it even easier. Normal people, on the other hand, don’t have the time or money to spend figuring out how to get privacy online. This is the worst of all possible worlds.

So yes, criminals could in theory use mixmaster, but they already have better options, and it seems unlikely that taking mixmaster away from the world will stop them from doing bad things. At the same time, mixmaster and other privacy measures can fight identity theft, physical crimes like stalking, and so on. Please see the tor FAQ on abuse for more information.

Q: How does Mixmaster / Anonymous remailers work?

A: Anonymous remailers work by connecting to other anonymous remailers in a chain, and every one in that chain removes the mail header information making it impossible to find the real sender. The Tor project maintains a list of typical users of this and other anonymity systems, and the Mixmaster home page

Contacts:

Riseup Networks, Devin Theriot-Orr, 206-708-8740, sunbird@riseup.net

May First/People Link, Jamie McClelland, 917-509-5734, jm@mayfirst.org

ECN: Isole Nella Rete, inr@riseup.net




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The 2nd Anniversary of the BP oil spill disaster has just passed...

The amerikkkan government has taken steps to ensure that no other oil companies will be taken to task for poisoning ecosystem and harming its citizens.




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