SG Radio feat Jason Leopold, Brian Knappenberger and David Seaman
Nov 2013 20

SG Radio feat Jason Leopold, Brian Knappenberger and David Seaman  

Posted In Activism,All Things SG,Blog,Politics,SG Radio

by Blogbot

This Thursday, November 21st on SuicideGirls Radio, hosts Nicole Powers and Juturna Suicide will be joined in studio by investigative reporter Jason Leopold, documentary filmmaker Brian Knappenberger, and SG political correspondent David Seaman.

In the first hour of the show we’ll be getting the inside scoop on Jason Leopold’s series of stories for Al Jazeera based upon the secret diaries of Guantanamo prisoner Abu Zubaydah (see part one, two, and three). Zubaydah, who is a Saudi Arabian citizen, was the first high value detainee captured after 9/11. He was arrested in Pakistan in March 2002, and, as a guinea pig for George Bush’s torture program, was waterboarded 83 times.

During the second hour we’ll be exploring the case of Jeremy Hammond, a hacktivist who was sentenced to 10 years in jail in a New York court last week. We’ll be chatting to those familiar with the case, including Rachel Allshiny, who has provided prison support to Jeremy since his arrest in March of 1012, and popular Blog Talk Radio host and twilebrity Vince Tocce aka VinceInTheBay, who provided compelling victim testimony during last Friday’s court hearing.

You can listen – and watch – the world’s leading naked radio show live on Thursday nights from 6 til 8 PM at our new state-of-the-art all digital home: TradioV.com.

You’ll also be able to listen to our podcasts via Stitcherdownload the app now!

If you have questions for the SG Radio crew or our guests, you can call in during the live broadcast at: 1-855-TRV-inLA (1-855-878-4652)

For updates on all things SG Radio-related, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

***

About Jason Leopold | @JasonLeopold

Jason Leopold is an investigative reporter covering Guantanamo, counterterrorism, national security, human rights, open government and civil liberties issues. He’s been called a “FOIA Terrorist” by federal employees for his aggressive use of the Freedom of Information Act, which included suing the FBI and forcing the agency to changes its policies. He is currently a contributing editor for Al Jazeera and is the recipient of a Freedom of Press Foundation grant. He’s the author of the national bestseller, News Junkie, and an investigative report, From Hopeful to Immigrant to FBI Informant: The Inside Story of the Other Abu Zubaidah, which was published in the form of an ebook. Leopold’s investigative reporting highlights includes “Revised Guantanamo Force-Feed Policy Exposed,” a story based on a military document he exclusively obtained, and “Sold Into ‘A Piece of Hell’: A Death of Innocence at Gitmo,” about the suspicious death in September 2012 of prisoner Adnan Latif. A radio documentary about Leopold’s life, based on his book News Junkie, was broadcast by the award-winning podcast, Love + Radio and featured on NPR.

***

About Brian Knappenberger | @knappB

Brian Knappenberger is perhaps best known in the online community as the director of We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists. His latest project, The Internet’s Own Boy, follows internet activist and programming pioneer Aaron Swartz from his teenage emergence on the internet scene and involvement in RSS and Reddit, to his increased interest in political advocacy and the controversial actions he allegedly took in downloading nearly four million academic articles from the online service JSTOR. The film, which is currently in production, explores Aaron’s arrest, the prosecution’s tactics in bringing the case to trial through the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the impact a seemingly small hacking gesture had on Aaron’s life and the future of information access on the internet.

For more information visit: aaronswartzthedocumentary.com/

***

About David Seaman | @d_seaman

David Seaman is an independent journalist. He has been a lively guest on CNN Headline News, FOX News, ABC News Digital, among others, and on his humble YouTube channel, DavidSeamanOnline. Some say he was recently censored by a certain large media corporation for posting a little too much truth… Catch Seaman’s podcasts on iTunes and Stitcher and his brand new crowd-funded show on YouTube.

David has just released a new digital minibook called All Your Favorite Conspiracy Theories Are Wrong, which you can download for $3 via Amazon. It’s a light, high-impact read full of unusual musings, inquisitive gems, and “haven’t you ever wondered” commonalities that will get you excited about being in the human race again. “It’s highly concentrated dishwasher liquid for your mind,” says David, who is known for his sparkling brain cells and remarkably soft hands!

For more on David, visit DavidSeaman.net and follow him on G+ and Twitter.

**UPDATE**

ICYMI: Last night’s show feat. Jason Leopold, Brian Knappenberger and David Seaman + Andy Stepanian, Rachel Allshiny and VinceInTheBay can be viewed HERE.

Peace, Love, and Pepper Spray
Nov 2013 14

Peace, Love, and Pepper Spray  

Posted In Activism,Blog,Books,Entertainment,Favorites,Politics

by Nicole Powers

Having spent quality time at Occupations in Los Angeles, New York, London and Chicago, about a year ago I received a phone call from my friend – Emmy Award winning former CNN journalist Amber Lyon – asking for help with a book on contemporary protest she was working on.

“Come over for a day and write a few captions,” she said. I didn’t see the light of day for nearly a week. The result of the time served at “Camp Lyon” – as me and my fellow detainee/ PL&PS contributor Dell Cameron jokingly called it – is the just-released coffee table book, Peace, Love, and Pepper Spray.

With a Forward by David Lifton on the history of protest, the book chronicles the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the new wave of protest it inspired. It also vividly shows the state’s all too often brutal response to it, and the increasing militarization of our nation’s police.

Over the course of 12 chapters and 200+ pages, through images and commentary, the book highlights key events, such as the Occupy National Gathering in Philadelphia and the alternative “No Nato” Summit in Chicago, and actions like those conducted to halt the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The work of groups such as the Overpass Light Brigade, Code Pink, and Anonymous is also explored.

In addition, the book features shocking first hand accounts from the frontlines from Lyon (in the Introduction) and journalist John Knefel (My State-Sponsored Assault Courtesy of the NYPD), and an essay on online protest by academic and author Gabriella Coleman (The Ethics of Digital Direct Action).

“One thing’s for sure, protest in America will never be the same,” writes Lyon. “I only hope that the threat of pepper spray will never prevail over the voice of the American people.”

For more information on the book and where to purchase it visit: peaceloveandpepperspray.com/.

**UPDATE**

Watch Amber Lyon talk Peace, Love and Pepper Spray on SG Radio with host Nicole Powers, popular blogger and radio personality Brad Friedman, SG political correspondent David Seaman, and Strike Debt’s Alexis Goldstein.

Prisoner Support: Every Moment A Crisis, Every Moment A Gift
Aug 2013 23

Prisoner Support: Every Moment A Crisis, Every Moment A Gift  

Posted In Activism,Blog,Politics

by Rachel Allshiny

Working on prisoner support is one of the most exhausting, transformative, frustrating, vital, tedious, rewarding, messy, wonderful things I have ever done.

When someone is in prison, every moment is a crisis. Even when a specific problem or situation is resolved, there remains an overwhelming survival mentality, which affects those inside and their supporters alike. I move from crisis to crisis every day; meanwhile the prisoners I am not actively engaged in supporting at any given minute hover in my peripheral vision, imploring they not be forgotten. None are ever forgotten, of course, but the need to prioritize presents me with difficult decisions about how to use my time and resources daily.

In the past few weeks, most of my efforts have been dedicated to helping Mark Neiweem, also known as Migs, of the NATO 5. Quick refresher: five activists were arrested days before the NATO summit in Chicago last year and subsequently charged with terrorism. Three remain incarcerated at Cook County Jail, awaiting trial. One accepted a non-cooperating plea agreement and served a sentence of four months in a boot camp for non-violent offenders. He was recently repatriated to his native Poland. The fifth is Mark, who also accepted a non-cooperating plea and is serving two concurrent three-year sentences. With credit for time served and time off for good behavior, he expects parole in November. You can read his comments on his decision to change his plea and his grim experience at Cook County Jail here.

Mark entered his new plea in April. He was immediately transferred to Stateville, where he stayed for one month under barely tolerable living conditions. He was then moved to the medium security unit at Pontiac Correctional Center in Pontiac, IL. This was by far his best housing situation, although it feels strange to put it that way. Prison is always a miserable experience, but there are relative levels to misery.

I got my first letter from Mark when he was still at Cook County Jail exactly one year ago today – the same day I attempted to visit him for the first time. His tone was friendly, engaging, and funny, but he also came across as angry, frustrated, and obviously in pain. In one line that still haunts me, he suggested that they should execute him and let the other four guys walk. When we tried to see him that day, we discovered he had just been hospitalized after being severely beaten by guards. His hospitalization was followed by five weeks in solitary confinement, where he stayed without visits until after his visible wounds healed.

During those five weeks, I made it my personal mission to make sure he always had mail and someone he could call. I wrote and told him that five guys went in, and I would not rest until all five walked out. Ever since, it has been my utmost priority to make sure the shadowy powers-that-be know we are paying attention to what happens to him. As the good Doctor would say, he is protected.

As it happens, we’ve also become good friends. I very much look forward to the day when I can spend time with him that’s not regulated by the Illinois Department of Corrections.

After his conviction and move to Pontiac, I noticed a significant positive shift in Mark’s attitude. I attribute this change to the resolution of his case, having a release date in sight, and having escaped the hellhole that is Cook County Jail. His medium security designation meant he merited “contact visits” where he was able to hug his mom and some friends, myself included, for the first time in over a year. He began making concrete plans for the future and became determined to use his remaining time to educate himself in preparation for release. He requested books, signed up for the prison’s GED class, and began attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings. He mentioned in his letters that some of the prisoners knew why he was there and tried to engage him in conversation about it, but that he had no interest in discussing the past. His sights were set on the front door and he was doing everything possible to get a strong new start on his life.

Imagine my concern and disappointment, then, when I drove down with a friend to visit him in July and discovered that he had been moved to solitary confinement in the maximum security unit. We were still able to see him, thankfully, but it was a no-contact visit. We spoke to him through a sheet of plexiglass and watched as he twisted around, trying to find a comfortable position to sit with his arms shackled behind his back to the base of his stool. He told us he had not been able to contact anyone about his transfer to solitary because he was no longer allowed to use the phone and his property had been seized, which meant he did not have his list of mailing addresses. At that time he had not been charged with any misconduct but was “under investigation,” which meant they could hold him in solitary for at least 30 days.

Despite the circumstances, it was a great visit. He looked healthier and stronger than ever, if a bit scruffy from lack of access to shaves and haircuts. He was funny and thoughtful as usual and clearly determined not to give in to these heavy-handed tactics. He expressed concern over not completing his GED class and the setback in his plans to prepare for release. It wasn’t the most relaxed or pleasant visit, but definitely one of the more important ones.

Cue an endless number of urgent phone calls. We stood in the prison parking lot, phones poised, reaching out to lawyers, his family, and other activists as a thunderstorm brewed in the distance. It was very dramatic, or maybe that was the adrenaline speaking. During the 100-mile drive home, we held an early strategizing session. After the lawyers made their official requests, we launched a call-in campaign, flooding IDOC Director Godinez and Governor Quinn’s offices with demands for accountability. They responded by moving him to a smaller, more restrictive cell within solitary, behind a solid steel door. At one point I found myself sitting on the dirty sidewalk outside CPD District 001 at midnight, waiting for anti-ALEC protesters to be released, typing up actions and campaigns to at least get Mark some mail and pictures, at his request. It’s a glamorous life.

Ultimately, Mark was charged on two counts – possessing “unauthorized” anarchist symbols and possessing “unauthorized” anarchist literature, both of which were deemed an imminent threat to the facility. We are still awaiting a decision on these charges. Assuming they are upheld, he could be moved farther downstate, away from his support system, or lose his time off for good behavior. Or both.

Meanwhile, every moment is a crisis. I walk around with the awareness that his fate is balanced precariously, and there is only so much I can do to help. I send him photos taken in shaded parks along Lake Michigan, where I like to sit and write. He sends me funny drawings to let me know how much he appreciates my support.

This week, I went to visit him again.

I drove down in a borrowed car, pumping donated funds into the gas tank. I brought three books for him:

• On Writing by Stephen King because I am gently encouraging him to write about his experience;

• Packing for Mars by Mary Roach because it’s funny and informative and deals with confinement in small spaces as a means of exploring the vast depths of inner and outer space;

• and City of Thieves by David Benioff because if I sent him on a life-or-death mission to find a dozen eggs in war-torn Russia, I know he would deliver.

I was braced for trouble getting in to see him but it all went smoothly at the gate. In the waiting room I met a woman from the southwest suburbs of Chicago, there to see her brother. We traded war stories about visiting different facilities, always carefully avoiding the question of why we had to in the first place. Prison etiquette.

Finally, I was called to see Mark. He was behind plexiglass again, arms shackled behind his back again. You wouldn’t know it from the grin on his face, though. He looked too skinny and he still hadn’t gotten to cut his hair or shave, so he was starting to resemble the caveman drawings of himself that often adorn his letters to me. It was great to see him, no matter what.

We got business out of the way. He had a productive legal visit the week before. He still didn’t know his fate, but told me he is committed to resisting whatever they have in store for him. He said he was not interested in passively accepting their aggressive tactics, especially since he doesn’t believe acquiescence will result in better treatment. He has clarity of purpose about both his own situation and how it fits into the larger context of the system that keeps him unwavering in his resolve. As his mom told me on the phone recently, “They’re trying to break him, but they won’t. He’s a tough nut to crack.” He still spoke of his plans for the future, but they were more abstract.

He asked about other defendants’ well-being and for general news updates. I felt bad; it seemed like most of what I had to share was bad news. I told him about a contested space in Chicago that had been used as a community center for the past three years – until it was destroyed overnight with no warning. His response? “That sounds like a prime spot to occupy.” I shook my head and told him there was nothing left to occupy anymore; it’s just a pile of rubble now. He smiled. “So, it’s a pile of rubble now. Turn it into an organic garden.”

That wasn’t the response I expected, but it was the response I needed. I am constantly fighting burnout and every pile of rubble looks like a loss, highlighting the futility of our efforts to create sustainable change. He found the hope and possibility for a new beginning that was buried in this one. I didn’t tell him at the time, but hopefully he will read this and recognize that he could not have suggested that a year ago. He’s come a very long way.

I told him about the Netflix show Orange Is The New Black, and how people keep telling me I should really watch it because of my involvement in prisoner support work. I have been watching it, and see both its merits and its flaws, but it is slow going. I spend so much of my day worrying about prisoners and their perpetual moments of crisis that it is hard to sit back in my downtime and watch a TV show about it. Even harder to laugh. He compared people telling me to watch the show to prisoners who never miss an episode of Cops, or love detective shows that glorify the police force, without a deeper understanding of how it compounds their own oppression.

He wants to teach people about how the state uses incarceration to drain our power and resources and ability to resist. He wants every activist to know about the prison industrial complex, not just in theory or from a TV show, but from experiencing it alongside somebody trapped in the system. At least until they are all free.

He also expressed an interest in environmental activism as his next endeavor. When I mentioned some of the ongoing struggles against the KXL pipeline and fracking, he looked sad. “I’m missing so much in here,” he explained. I promised him we wouldn’t fix the whole world without him, but would leave something for him to work on when he got out. He’s holding us to that promise.

(This part of the conversation reminded me of my visit to Brian Church, also of the NATO 5, two days earlier. Brian was trained as an EMT but will never be able to work in that field again due to these charges. He very much wants to volunteer as a street medic to help people rising up against dictatorships in other countries – if he can work out a way to travel – who often end up badly injured. His desire to use his own skills to help other people was palpable, even with his own fate still undecided.)

At one point, Mark went off into an earnest and passionate political discourse, talking about how ridiculous he finds the concept of asking elected officials to honor rights we already have. If they really represented us, he theorized, we wouldn’t have to ask them to be on our side and protect our innate freedoms. “You can’t ask for permission to be free,” he told me. “You just have to start being free.” He interrupted himself with a sheepish smile. “I’ve been reading a lot,” he apologized. I looked at him, wearing “more chains than the Ghost of Christmas Past” (as he once described it to me), and I knew that he was free. They have imprisoned his body but his soul is soaring above it all, and he will prevail.

Every moment of prisoner support work is a crisis. But here’s the secret I saved til the end: every moment is also a precious gift. I have friends I haven’t talked to in months because I’m secure in the knowledge that I can text them at any time. My time interacting directly with prisoners, however, is measured and cut into segments that are never quite large enough. We don’t waste our moments together. Each and every one is important.

Before I had to leave, I asked Mark if we could do anything more for him right now. He is getting his mail again, very slowly, presumably after being read and documented by the prison. It is his only link to the outside world, and he asked people to continue writing and sending him photos. You can learn more about how to do that here.

When I hit the halfway point on my way back to Chicago, I suddenly started crying. I didn’t want to leave him behind, but I had reached the point of no return and had to keep pushing forward. I remembered a final bit of wisdom he had left me with: “It may feel like you’re on the ropes a lot, but at least you’re still in the fight.”

When every moment is a crisis, every moment is also an opportunity to resist and push forward. This is my work and my calling, but you can be a part of it to whatever extent you are comfortable. Choose one person on the #OpPenPal mailing list and send them a letter or postcard that will make them smile. If you live in the area of one of these cases, reach out and ask what court support and jail visit needs are, and if you can tag along with a veteran your first time. Donations to defense funds are always appreciated, and if all else fails, sharing links and information with your family and friends helps get the word out.

“Solidarity is our best weapon, and it works.” – Mark Neiweem, Open Communiqué

Rachel Allshiny served as librarian and press liaison for Occupy Chicago and co-founded OpPenPal in February 2013.

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<b>Hacking Politics – How We Defeated SOPA & PIPA</b>
May 2013 28

Hacking Politics – How We Defeated SOPA & PIPA  

Posted In Activism,All Things SG,Blog,Politics

by Blogbot

We killed the bill dead. So dead that when members of Congress propose something that even touches the Internet, they give a long speech beforehand about how it is definitely not at all like SOPA. So dead that when you ask Congressional staffers about it, they groan and shake their heads, like it’s all a bad dream they’re trying hard to forget. So dead, that it’s hard to believe this story. Hard to remember how close it all came to actually passing. Hard to remember how it could have been any other way.

But it wasn’t a dream, or a nightmare. It was all very real. And it will happen again. Sure, it will have a different name, and maybe a different excuse, and probably do its damage in a different way. But make no mistake. The enemies of the freedom to connect have not disappeared. The fire in those politicians’ eyes has not been put out.

There are a lot of powerful people who want to clamp down on the Internet. And, to be honest, there aren’t a whole lot who have a vested interest in protecting it. Even some of the biggest Internet companies, to put it frankly, would benefit from a world in which their little competitors could be censored.

We can’t let that happen.

- Aaron Swartz, Hacking Politics

Hacking Politics is a newly released book that chronicles the extraordinary fight against SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act), which culminated in the unprecedented Internet Blackout of January 18th, 2012.

Edited by David Segal and David Moon of Demand Progress, and Patrick Ruffini of Engage and Don’t Censor the Net, the book features essays from those who were on the frontlines of the battle against these draconian pieces of legislation that threatened not only online liberty but the very fabric of the web.

Included in the book are first-hand accounts from Lawrence Lessig (of Harvard Law School), Cory Doctorow (author and editor of BoingBoing), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (a Democratic Congress member since 1995), Mike Masnick (CEO and founder of Techdirt), Kim Dotcom (founder of Megaupload and Mega), Alexis Ohanian (co-founder of Reddit), and Derek Slater ( a Policy Manager on Google’s public policy team), among others. The book also includes two chapters by SG Editor Nicole Powers: an account of SuicideGirls’ involvement in the online protests, and an interview with Julie O’Dwyer, the mother of Richard O’Dwyer, the British student who faced extradition to the US on charges related to copyright infringement. Poignantly, the book also contains essays penned by online activist and Demand Progress co-founder Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide earlier this year after being charged with offenses under the outdated and overbroad CFAA (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act).

Though Swartz couldn’t see a way through his own fight, he and an unlikely coalition of left-leaning progressives, right-leaning tea partiers, non-partisan occupiers, blue chip corporations, underground activists, mainstream press outlets and fringe techno radicals successfully fought the Goliath RIAA and MPAA-funded political machine to defeat PIPA and SOPA.

Hacking Politics was put together to ensure that this epic battle is never forgotten, and to provide a greater understanding of the delicate and extensive behind-the-scenes negotiations that are required to mount such a successful grassroots campaign. Though seemingly spontaneous, the fight against PIPA and SOPA was far from unplanned. Hopefully Hacking Politics will provide not only the blueprint, but the inspiration for similar future online offensives against the onslaught of SOPA and PIPA-like legislation that threatens the freedom of the internet.

Hacking Politics: How Geeks, Progressives, the Tea Party, Gamers, Anarchists and Suits Teamed Up to Defeat SOPA and Save the Internet is available in paperback and as an eBook. For a limited time the eBook edition is available as a pay-what-you-wish download.

<b>Damage Done: Sister Of The Missing Man Mistaken For Boston Bomber Speaks Out</b>
Apr 2013 30

Damage Done: Sister Of The Missing Man Mistaken For Boston Bomber Speaks Out  

Posted In Blog,Politics

by D.S. Wood

D.S. Wood is a Canuck journalist who occasionally takes an interest in news outside the scope of his day job in the mainstream media. He reached out to the family of Sunil Tripathi to get their take on amateur sleuths and mainstream media failing their lost loved one, and spoke with Sangeeta Tripathi, Sunil’s sister, for 45-minutes by phone.


Sunil Tripathi (center) with his sister, Sangeeta Tripathi (left) and brother, Ravi Tripathi (right).

Shaken by bomb blasts in Boston, Sangeeta Tripathi returned to Providence to discover the missing younger brother she’d moved there to find was labeled a suspect.

He was called a terrorist.

He was called a killer.

He was called one of the most wanted men in America.

Sunil Tripathi was none of these things.

He was a 22-year-old student at Brown who left his apartment early in the morning March 16 never to come back.

He was not a terrorist.

He was not a killer.

He was not among America’s most wanted until someone – who in a grainy image pulled from a surveillance camera maybe bore a slight resemblance to him – planted homemade bombs about the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15.

“It was striking and painful for us,” Sangeeta says.

As those first pics of suspects are released, the internet decides it’s going to find the terrorists.

On Reddit, a user says they recognize one of them. Went to school with this guy, looks just like him –– name’s Sunil Tripathi. On Twitter, somebody says they heard that name spoken over Boston Police Department radio waves. All over The internet word is spread, complete with Photoshopped images showing that grainy surveillance pic alongside one swiped off the Facebook page of a family desperately trying to find out what’s become of a missing member.

Retweet, retweet, retweet.

Three days after the bomb blasts, that Facebook page was hit with accusatory message after accusatory message and Sangeeta says her phone rang off the hook with media calls requesting words with the family of the bomber.

“It got way out of control,” Sangeeta says.

“Hearing the confidence that people on multiple media platforms were speaking with (without evidence) was absolutely shocking…if that’s the bar, it’s a pretty worrisome bar.

“We were 100% completely sure this was not Sunil at all.”

By the end of the week the authorities had two suspects accounted for –– one dead and one probably just wishing he was –– and sure enough, neither was an Indo-American Brown student.

***

Sangeeta always told “Sunny” he was too smart for her. He was apt with computers –– if something wasn’t working the way it was supposed to you took it to him.

He was musically inclined — he played the saxophone. He had just a year left at Brown, taking philosophy. Boy genius.

Then, in the early morning hours of March 16, it seemed the world opened up and swallowed him, leaving no real trace to be found.

He was just gone.

“He was taking a bit of time off to slow down a bit and get things together,” Sangeeta says. The night before he disappeared, Sunil had gone out to dinner with his best friend, phoned his grandmother, and sent a text message to his aunt.

“He turned off his computer at 1:14 AM (and then) he left at 1:34 AM,” Sangeeta says. “He left alone…His wallet, IDs, book bag, bicycle –– he left everything in his apartment.”

It wasn’t long before Sunil’s doting family descended on Providence, with no intention of leaving until they found him.

It brought the family closer together; Sangeeta doesn’t remember the last time the lot of them were under one roof day in and day out like that, and she thinks it’s helped each of them deal with what has otherwise been a nightmare.

“It’s been very beautiful and interesting to watch,” she says.

A private family, there was a lot of hesitance to take the effort online –– and they couldn’t have known then the turn it would take –– but they made a choice to set up a Facebook page. They figured social media could only help.

***

It’s ironic, Sangeeta says, that she, her other brother and their uncle were in Boston for the marathon and the madness that ended it, given what happened after.

One of Sunil’s friends, who had joined the search in Providence, was in the event, and they’d come out to support him, she explains. Maybe 10 blocks away from them, one explosive went off, and then another one quickly followed.

***

On the one-month anniversary of Sunil’s disappearance, instead of renewing the push to find him, his family was shutting it down. When connections were made between one of their own and the horror they’d witnessed, they went dark.

They closed the Facebook page.

They stopped taking calls.

They sat and waited for this second nightmare to run its course.

“We felt that any statement from any family member wouldn’t be the best use of our energy,” Sangeeta says.

“No,” she says, when asked if, in hindsight, she thinks speaking out might’ve made any difference. “There were many strong currents at play and those strong currents were bigger than us…[We were in] the challenging position of trying to sit tight.”

Their emotional reserves already low, Sunil’s family watched helplessly as the online footprint of their missing loved one suddenly grew, greatly, but into something far, far darker.

Nothing dies on the internet.

Nothing goes away.

It all lives forever, waiting for the right combination of keywords to be typed into search engines.

In the aftermath of the Boston bombing, the right combination was simply “Sunil Tripathi.”

Even now his family is still waiting for it to end.

“If you search his name right now there’s still a lot of traffic that’s not associated with our love and our search for him,” Sangeeta says.

Because someone said they thought they recognized someone.

Because someone said they thought they heard something.

Because someone with basic Photoshop skills had nothing to do one night.

***

The internet gave a collective “Oops” when done praising itself for inching out the traditional media that week, which had been taking cues from Twitter feeds and cop scanners anyway.

After the Tsarnaev brothers were identified, Sunil’s family re-opened the Facebook page and those accusatory voices were replaced by apologetic ones. Sangeeta says several media outlets have phoned her back to express regret.

On Reddit, a blog post from the site’s general manager Erik Martin states:

“Though started with noble intentions, some of the activity on Reddit fueled online witch hunts and dangerous speculation which spiraled into very negative consequences for innocent parties…

“We have apologized privately to the family of missing college student Sunil Tripathi, as have various users and moderators. We want to take this opportunity to apologize publicly for the pain they have had to endure…”

What the family of Sunil wanted was for the search to move forward –– he was still missing and still missed –– and sadly that’s exactly what happened.

After a month with no answers, Sangeeta and the others finally have one. But it’s the last one they would have wanted: Sunil Tripathi is dead.

A body was pulled from the water off of Providence April 23 and the family has released a statement saying it is indeed their loved one.

Along with expressions of grief over his loss and gratitude to those who aided the quest to solve the mystery of his disappearance, in a statement from the family, which Sangeeta emailed to me, was one last thought on the unexpected, unwanted circus that surrounded the family:

“As these days have shown us, the media is a powerful tool to be used carefully. We hope you continue to exercise caution and treat human lives with delicacy…This last month has changed our lives forever, and we hope it will change yours too.

“Take care of one another. Be gentle, be compassionate. Be open to letting someone in when it is you who is faltering. Lend your hand. We need it. The world needs it.”

<B>The Justice Department’s Assault on Northern Ireland’s Peace Process and the First Amendment</B>
Apr 2013 30

The Justice Department’s Assault on Northern Ireland’s Peace Process and the First Amendment  

Posted In Activism,Blog,Politics

by Dustin Slaughter

Oral histories of political movements give us glimpses of the participants who helped shape the world we know today. They often provide raw, personal first-hand accounts of peoples’ struggles. These projects also help to maintain historical truths that are often tainted by government revisionism and lost to cultural amnesia.

Tacit confidentiality agreements between historians and interviewees are naturally crucial to the birth of these histories.

So what happens when the Department of Justice and the Police Service of Northern Ireland decide to violate the spirit of a treaty between the United States and the United Kingdom by subpoenaing a confidential collection of taped interviews detailing Northern Ireland’s militant past?

The purity of historical record, as well as fundamental First Amendment issues like freedom of the press, and more specifically source confidentiality, are now under attack by none other than US prosecutor Carmen Ortiz – the same district attorney criticized for what many people called overzealous prosecution that likely led to activist Aaron Swartz committing suicide – and the DOJ, at the behest of Northern Ireland’s police forces. These parties apparently see fit to enflame a tenuous peace in Northern Ireland by tearing open historical wounds through their desire to prosecute former Irish Republican and Loyalist paramilitaries for unsolved crimes.

Beginning three years after the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, heralded by some as the beginning of a new – and peaceful – chapter between the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, journalists Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre began tape recording interviews with members of Irish paramilitaries and their Loyalist foes. Their objective was to contribute a better academic understanding of what motivated otherwise ordinary individuals to join the armed conflict, as well as document the turbulent and important history known as The Troubles. They concluded their interviews in 2006 and the Belfast Project is stored today in Boston College’s Burns Library.

The lynchpin of the project was the confidentiality agreement McIntyre and Maloney forged with participants – from both sides of the conflict – some of whom divulged the names of militants. The stories were not to be released without their written consent or until their death.

Fast forward to 2011, when the Department of Justice, by way of a Clinton-era initiative called the US-UK Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), attempted to force Boston College to release the tapes by recklessly (and improperly, as I’ll address below) subpoenaing these confidential interviews at the behest of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

Authorities claim that Belfast Project interviews will assist in investigating the re-opened case of Jean McConville, who was kidnapped and murdered by the Provisional IRA in 1972. Current Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, among others, have been implicated in the crime. Republican militants admitted their culpability some 20 years later.

Some, like Anthony McIntyre – a writer, historian and former IRA member who was jailed for 18 years in Northern Ireland’s infamous Long Kesh prison and was released in 1996, believe the motivation for the subpoena is more complicated – and sinister – than a mere desire to solve a horrible crime that happened in 1972 however.

“[The justice angle] does not have much traction, given that the PSNI was heavily involved in using law enforcement to break the law and immerse itself as a player in the conflict [during the Troubles],” he tells me through email.

“It is certainly not interested in solving homicides per se. It is interested in the selective solving of some homicides. Hence we have killings involving state agents not being pursued but others involving people opposed to the state pursued.”

The checkered history of Northern Ireland’s security forces supports McIntyre’s suspicion that the subpoena is politically motivated. The former incarnation of the PSNI, from 1922 until 2001, was the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). This law enforcement organization has a storied history of human rights transgressions, as detailed in a number of reports, including one issued in 1991 by Human Rights Watch, which cite a wide range of abuses against Irish nationalists and which also point out numerous instances of RUC collusion with Loyalist paramilitaries.

Most notably, two members of a special anti-terrorist unit within the RUC known as the Special Patrol Group were convicted in 1980 of giving aid to Loyalist forces in the form of transportation, kidnappings, shootings and bombing attacks.

Besides these two Special Patrol Group members, no RUC or PSNI officers have ever been charged with crimes.

But it is what McIntyre calls the “retire and rehire” phenomenon taking place within the RUC-turned-PSNI that gives him the greatest doubt that Good Friday Agreement reforms have changed the police force’s apparent anti-nationalist leanings. A watchdog audit of the PSNI in 2011 found that almost 20% of the over 5,000 RUC officers laid off under reforms were rehired. The report describes the organization’s apparent reversion to its RUC roots as “out of control,” according to the Guardian, which ran the story in October 2011. The push to enter more Irish Catholics into the police force, a key reform from Good Friday, is clearly being rolled back.

And the Boston College subpoena, in light of all this, may very well be a political fishing expedition designed, at least in part, on hunting down old enemies of the British state.

Two plausible scenarios could emerge if the DOJ and PSNI are successful in accessing the Belfast Project interviews: Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams will face prosecution for his alleged involvement in Jean McConville’s murder. Irish nationalist rage would likely spill out into the streets of Belfast.

Conversely, the PSNI may do nothing with the archive. If that happens, McIntyre tells me, “the British government decides it is too politically sensitive – not least for what may be revealed about their own knowledge and activities – to bring forward any criminal prosecution. Loyalist reaction to this will be, predictably, outrage. They will hardly accept, especially given the lengths that the British are going to obtain this material, that it was worthless.”

Clearly, either outcome could set off the tinderbox – and the two journalists who created the project have, since 2011, been consumed with preventing the potential unraveling of Northern Ireland’s peace process.

They’ve also rushed to protect what they correctly perceive as an erosion of journalistic freedoms enshrined by the First Amendment here in the U.S. More on this latter point shortly.

Anthony McIntyre and Ed Maloney began their protracted legal battle with prosecutor Ortiz after Boston College refused to appeal a lower court’s decision that the DOJ’s grab at the archives was legitimate. The two men found support from the ACLU of Massachusetts, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the Irish American Coalition, all of which added amicus briefs to the case. After two years of overturned appeals, McIntyre and Maloney finally kicked the case up to the Supreme Court – only to have the High Court refuse to hear it last week.

With that final blow, every legal avenue is now exhausted.

This leaves only a political redress through a newly-minted Secretary of State John Kerry who, before taking the post this year, served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In a January 2012 letter to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Kerry expressed concern “about the impact that [the subpoena] may have on the continued success of the Northern Ireland peace process.”

Senator Kerry added: “It is possible that some former parties to the conflict may perceive the effort by the U.K. authorities to obtain this information as contravening the spirit of the Good Friday Accords.”

As noted earlier, the DOJ’s actions most certainly violate the spirit, if not the letter, of the U.S. – U.K. Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. In a report submitted by Senator Richard Luger in September 2006, Luger states:

“The Senate’s understanding [is] that the purpose of the Treaty is to strengthen law enforcement cooperation between the United States and the United Kingdom by modernizing the extradition process for all serious offenses and that it is not intended to reopen issues addressed in the Belfast Agreement or to impede any further efforts to resolve the conflict in Northern Ireland.”

Kerry and Luger were not alone in their concern.

New York Senator Charles Schumer expressed consternation that the DOJ’s subpoena not only threatened to destroy a fragile peace across the Atlantic, but that it targeted freedom of the press. In a letter sent to both Secretary of State Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder, Schumer stated:

“There are significant issues of journalistic confidentiality and academic freedom that are called into question as a result of this legal maneuver that make it dubious…I have always been a champion of protecting sensitive source material that is gathered by researchers – journalists and academics alike—and I am concerned that this action presents an infringement on that underpinning of the First Amendment.”

One need only look at the DOJ’s dogged pursuit of activists, such as the late Aaron Swartz, to see how far the Justice Department will go to score wins in court. It is not a stretch to believe they could use subpoenas to violate journalist-source confidentiality in future cases.

With over 100 similar bilateral assistance treaties between the U.S. and other countries in existence today, the threat this subpoena poses may have far-reaching – and unimaginable – consequences for international political movements, freedom of dissent and our own First Amendment.

<b>SG Radio: Putting The CFAA In Focus</b>
Apr 2013 24

SG Radio: Putting The CFAA In Focus  

Posted In Activism,All Things SG,Blog,Entertainment,Politics,SG Radio

by Blogbot

This Thursday April 25th on SuicideGirls Radio we’ll be discussing the myriad of problems associated with the antiquated and arcane Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the dire consequences online activists are facing because of it. Hosts Nicole Powers and Moxi Suicide will be joined in studio by filmmakers Brian Knappenberger (@KnappB) and George Russell (@HollywoodDIT), who are making two very different documentaries that explore the plights of hacktivists ensnared by the CFAA’s very arbitrary web.

Brian’s film, The Internet’s Own Boy, will focus on Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide in January of this year after being relentlessly pursued by prosecutors. George’s film, The Hedgehog & The Hare, is centered around the case of Andrew Auernheimer (a.k.a. Weev), who was recently jailed for three and a half years for little more than embarrassing the fuck out of AT&T.

We’ll also be joined via Skype by Andrew’s attorney, Tor Ekeland (@TorEkelandPC), who is also currently defending former Reuters social media editor Matthew Keys against charges related to hacking. Additionally, infamous and hilarious Twitter personality and friend of Andrew’s Jaime Cochran (@asshurtACKFlags) and human rights activist Sara Jafary (@shokufeyesib), who is helping with jail support for Andrew, will be Skyping in to the show.

You can listen – and watch – the world’s leading naked radio show live on Thursday nights from 6 til 8 PM at our new state-of-the-art all digital home: TradioV.com/LA.

You’ll also be able to listen to our podcasts via Stitcherdownload the app now!

If you have questions for the SG Radio crew or our guests, you can call in during the live broadcast at: 1-855-TRV-inLA (1-855-878-4652)

For updates on all things SG Radio-related, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

***

_About Aaron Swartz Documentary – The Internet’s Own Boy

The new film by Brian Knappenberger, director of We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, follows internet activist and programming pioneer Aaron Swartz from his teenage emergence on the internet scene and involvement in RSS and Reddit, to his increased interest in political advocacy and the controversial actions he allegedly took in downloading nearly four million academic articles from the online service JSTOR. The film explores Aaron’s arrest, the prosecution’s tactics in bringing the case to trial through the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the impact a seemingly small hacking gesture had on Aaron’s life and the future of information access on the internet.

Help make this documentary happen by donating to the Kickstarter for The Internet’s Own Boy.

***

_About The Hedgehog & The Hare – Andrew Auernheimer & the CFAA

After the tragedy of Aaron Swartz and his prosecution under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act gained international attention, filmmakers Krystof Andres and George Russell began to hear about Andrew Auernheimer. Andrew’s CFAA case seemed even worse than Aaron’s from a legal perspective because Andrew had never actually hacked anything: he simply gave publicly available email addresses on an AT&T webpage to a journalist, with the aim of revealing the cavalier attitude which corporations can often take toward protecting customer’s private information. No reasonable person would say Andrew had committed a crime, let alone one that merited three and a half years in federal prison (he was sentenced in March). The Hedgehog & The Hare will tell Andrew’s story and ask the question: why would most of the media and our government get it so wrong?

Help make this documentary happen by donating to the Kickstarter for The Hedgehog & The Hare.

***

_About Tor Ekeland

Tor handles business transactions and litigates civil and criminal matters in Federal and New York State courts. His clients include small business owners and creatives who need solutions tailored to their unique circumstances. After starting Tor Ekeland, P.C. in December 2011 he immediately began defending alleged AT&T iPad email hacker Andrew Auernheimer (aka “Weev”) in his federal criminal prosecution for violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He is currently on the legal team defending former Reuters Social Media editor Matthew Keys.

For more information on Tor and his work visit torekeland.com/.

***

_About Sara Jafary

Born in the United States and raised in Iran, Sara Jafary returned to America at the age of 16 to go to college. She has always been concerned with social and economical issues. During the aftermath of Iran’s fraudulent election, she participated and helped organize over 50 high profile protests highlighting the plight of the Iranian people. During this time, she witnessed how internet freedom played an integral role in the spread of information and aided in protecting the lives of those who were reporting the atrocities of the Iranian government. Because of this, she started to gather knowledge on how to circumvent surveillance and became proficient in anonymity. During the Occupy Wall Street uprising, she branched out into activism for social justice for all, not just Iran. She considers internet freedom to be the saving grace our generation and something we need to protect at all costs. The speed at which, it provides and spreads knowledge and truth, has turned lying into a very difficult task. Laws such as CFAA, have only been implemented when spreading the truth has been destructive to a powerful entity. Its inherit vagueness allows for a very broad interpretation, which subsequently leads to disproportionate punishments that do not fit the “crime” or non-crime in Andrew Auernheimer’s case. “Andrew sacrificed his freedom to appeal and abolish this law,” says Sara, “the least we can do is to ensure that we are helping him accomplish this task.”

For more on Sara, follow her on Twitter.

**UPDATE**

ICYMI You can view last night’s show – which features a surprise appearance from the legendary Danny Dantalion – at tradiov.com or via the player below.



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