Canadian police and security forces have intensified their surveillance and harassment of Indigenous people in recent months in an effort to clear the way for the construction of two long-distance oil and gas pipelines in British Columbia, earning the condemnation of international human rights observers. “The Governments of Canada and of the Province of British Columbia have escalated their use of force, surveillance, and criminalization of land defenders and peaceful protesters to intimidate, remove and forcibly evict Secwepemc and Wet’suwet’en Nations from their traditional lands,” the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) wrote in an April 29 letter.
The U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) has released its Annual Statistical Transparency Report disclosing the use of national security surveillance laws for the year 2021—and to no one’s surprise it documents the wide-ranging overreach of intelligence agencies and the continued misuse of surveillance authorities to spy on millions of Americans. Specifically, the report chronicles how Section 702, an amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), that authorizes the U.S. government to engage in mass surveillance of foreign targets’ communications, is still being abused by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to spy on Americans without a warrant. Specifically, the report reveals that between December 2020 and November 2021, the FBI queried the data of potentially more than 3,000,000 “U.S. persons” without a warrant.
The Stop LAPD Spying Coalition is a community group rooted in the Skid Row community on Tongva/Gabrielino land, stolen territory known as Los Angeles. Over the past decade, we have been working to build power to abolish LAPD surveillance. This report grew out of that organizing and examines the relationships of policing and surveillance to displacement, gentrification, and real estate development. We study those relationships with a focus on the process that has always bound policing and capitalism together: colonization. We often hear that police are an occupying army in our communities. Throughout the history of imperialism and colonization, occupying forces have used surveillance to monitor and contain populations they deem threatening, all for the purpose of maintaining their violent rule.
Concert operators may like Amazon's palm recognition system, but some performers and activists are less than thrilled. A group of 200 artists and 30 rights groups has penned an open letter demanding the Red Rocks amphitheater, its ticketing provider AXS and AEG (AXS' parent company) "immediately cancel" contracts to use Amazon One scanning at any venue. They also want the firms to ban all biometric surveillance at those events.
The death by starvation of Etwariya Devi, a 67-year-old widow from the rural Indian state of Jharkhand, might have passed without notice had it not been part of a more widespread trend. Like 1.3 billion of her fellow Indians, Devi had been pushed to enroll in a biometric digital ID system called Aadhaar in order to access public services, including her monthly allotment of 25kg of rice. When her fingerprint failed to register with the shoddy system, Devi was denied her food ration. Throughout the course of the following three months in 2017, she was repeatedly refused food until she succumbed to hunger, alone in her home. Premani Kumar, a 64-year-old woman also from Jharkhand, met the same demise as Devi, dying of hunger and exhaustion the same year after the Aadhaar system transferred her pension payments to another person without her permission, while cutting off her monthly food rations.
Google and Amazon workers have published a public letter calling on the two companies to cancel Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion contract for cloud computing services for the Israeli military and government. We know that the Israeli military apparatus will use these services to build weapons and surveillance technology to use against the Palestinian people. Such technology, once tested on Palestinians, is frequently exported back to the United States to be used against marginalized populations and protesters here. This public action by tech workers follows an increasing number of coordinated actions in the tech sector to pressure Big Tech companies to cancel government contracts for surveillance technology, censorship technology, and computing services for foreign states.
As students at the University of South Florida quietly sobbed during a moment of silence for George Floyd last summer, they had no idea their candlelight vigil, organized before a monument to an assassinated civil rights leader, had been infiltrated by federal agents. They were not aware that the campus police department charged with their protection had invited federal drug cops to dress in plain clothes and stand beside them as they took turns venting their anger and frustration—fear over the growing number of unarmed Black people being shot dead by police. The students weren’t the only ones being monitored. At least 51 times last summer, drug enforcement agents were asked to surveil Americans engaged in First Amendment activities stemming from the backlash over Floyd’s murder.
On the heels of its defeat in Afghanistan, the United States government has made it clear it is now once again setting its sights on anti-war activists in the United States. Their latest target is Joe Lombardo, a leader of the country's largest anti-imperialist coalition. Joe Lombardo is 73 years old and has been an organizer in the anti-war movement for decades. He is a cofounder and lead organizer for Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace, a local anti-war group based near Albany, New York.
While the Bush Administration launched these policies, the Obama and Trump Administrations cemented and expanded them. Under Obama, the US carried out drone strikes targeting US citizens, ratified bulk collection of US citizens’ metadata, initiated the Countering Violent Extremism program, and revived the World War I-era Espionage Act to punish War on Terror whistleblowers. Trump called for the surveillance of mosques, enacted a Muslim Ban, and continued to abuse the Espionage act, using it to indict a journalist for publishing truthful information about US war crimes. You made the decision to end the US ground war in Afghanistan. We applaud this decision. But after twenty years, it is time not just to end the war on terror abroad, but at home too. Doing so requires...
Drones are being used as weapons of terror and oppression throughout the world. Not only do they make it possible for the United States to colonize and occupy other countries, but police departments in the US have access to surveillance and weaponized drones to target civilians. As the technology evolves, drones have the potential to lead to greater wars, including a war between major powers. To prevent this dystopian future, anti-drone activists are organizing an international campaign to ban drones. Clearing the FOG speaks with Nick Mottern, one of the founders of the Ban Killer Drones campaign, about the impact of drones on communities and the work to end them.
The federal government deliberately targeted Black Lives Matter protesters via heavy-handed criminal prosecutions in an attempt to disrupt and discourage the global movement that swept the nation last summer in the wake of the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, according to a new report released Wednesday by The Movement for Black Lives. Movement leaders and experts said the prosecution of protesters over the past year continues a century-long practice by the federal government, rooted in structural racism, to suppress Black social movements via the use of surveillance tactics and other mechanisms. “The empirical data and findings in this report largely corroborate what Black organizers have long known intellectually, intuitively, and from lived experience about the federal government’s disparate policing and prosecution of racial justice protests and related activity,” the report stated.
Many Americans were shocked last year when the FBI released a statement saying that a group of 13 Michigan men had plotted to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer from her vacation home. The group, which called itself the Michigan Wolverines, allegedly planned to storm the state capitol and Whitmer’s vacation home as part of an effort to instigate a civil war. Several of them made Molotov cocktails, which they allegedly intended to throw at responding police officers, and several others had weapons. They had spent months conducting surveillance training and practicing with their weapons. As many as 200 people were involved in the planning, either in meetings or in conversations over Facebook.
In recent days, Pegasus, the name of Israeli spyware implicated in everything from the murder of journalists to the surveillance of world leaders, has been splashed across headlines around the globe. Reports in the Washington Post, The Guardian, and 15 other media outlets, as well as Amnesty International, which uncovered the spyware’s reach, revealed that Pegasus, sold by the Israeli company NSO, was used in attempts to track the most intimate details of thousands of people, including French President Emmanuel Macron and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, as well as hundreds of human rights activists, journalists and lawyers around the globe. The revelations have prompted Haaretz columnist Eitay Mack to declare in no uncertain terms that “Israel’s NSO and Pegasus are a real and present danger to democracy all over the world.”