Spying on You


FBI Greenlights Crackdown on Black Lives Matter Protesters

The FBI is using the actions of a lone gunman as a pretext to attack the Black Lives Matter movement.

By Mara Verheyden-Hilliard
July 12, 2016

The violent events of the past week have placed the country at a decisive moment. Words matter but deeds matter more. Leadership matters. President Obama spoke about the need for real change and new “practices” following the murders by police officers of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota.

He followed that by stating last weekend, "One of the great things about America is that individual citizens and groups of citizens can petition their government, can protest, can speak truth to power. And that is sometimes messy and controversial but because of that ability to protest and engage in free speech, America over time has gotten better. We've all benefited from that.”


How the FBI Monitored Crusty Punks...

From Gawker

The FBI conducted a three-year investigation, dubbed "Seizing Thunder," into a animal-rights and environmental "terrorists" in the Pacific Northwest that devolved into widespread—and seemingly pointless—surveillance of activists for no apparent reason aside from the fact that they were anarchists, or protested the war in Iraq, or were "militant feminists." Here's the file.

I first came across the name "Seizing Thunder" several years ago while rifling through the FBI's investigative files on the Animal Liberation Front. The ALF records obliquely referenced the evocatively named investigation, which I requested via the Freedom of Information Act just for kicks. Last month—after three years—the FBI returned nearly 500 pages (it held back 784).


Exposed: FBI Surveillance of School of the Americas Watch

By Mara Verheyden-Hilliard
November 12, 2015
Partnership for Civil Justice Fund

For a decade, the FBI flagrantly abused its counter-terrorism authority to conduct a widespread surveillance and monitoring operation of School of Americas Watch (SOAW), a nonviolent activist organization founded by pacifists with the aim of closing the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas (now renamed) and ending the U.S. role in the militarization of Latin America.

Hundreds of pages of documents obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, on behalf of SOAW, once again reveal the FBI’s functioning as a political surveillance and intelligence operation and its use of its domestic terrorism authority against peaceful protest in the United States.


For Halloween, NY Post Dresses Up ‘Anarchist Plot’ Warning as Journalism

By Adam Johnson
Oct 29, 2015

Keeping up the tradition of seasonal scares, the New York Post (10/26/15) published a story about a potential “Halloween Revolt”: an attack by anarchists on police nationwide.

A group known as the National Liberation Militia, the Post reported, has been planning to dress up in masks like normal trick-or-treaters and use this disguise to sneak up on and assault cops in some coordinated fashion. The story was quickly picked up by CBS News, Fox News and NBC News, all of whom breathlessly alerted the public about this spooky-themed threat to police.


5 Reasons Why the FBI’s Most Wanted Domestic Terrorists List Should Have You Outraged

by Will Potter
Green is the New Red
June 3, 2015

If you want a clear idea of the FBI’s upside-down terrorism priorities, look no further than the bureau’s Most Wanted Domestic Terrorists lists.

CNN recently ran a fluff story on the FBI’s list that could have been written by the bureau itself (“The FBI’s goal, of course, is to prevent ‘homegrown attacks’ before they happen,” CNN reminds us). While CNN and the FBI are proudly commemorating the 65th anniversary of the government’s most wanted fugitives program, here’s what you should really know about the FBI’s lists:

1) Two of the most wanted “domestic terrorists” are environmentalists who never harmed anyone.


Why The Media Ignores Jeremy Hammond While Praising Edward Snowden

By Kit O'Connell
Mint Press News
May 11, 2015

The mainstream media has devoted hundreds of articles to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the subject of the Oscar-winning documentary “Citizenfour,” but it’s not devoted the same level of attention to many other whistleblowers and political prisoners, like Jeremy Hammond, no matter how sensational the facts they revealed.

In November 2013, a federal court sentenced Hammond to 10 years in prison for his part in the hack of Strategic Forecasting, an Austin, Texas-based corporate intelligence agency, also known as Stratfor. Working on behalf of Lulzsec, an infamous subgroup of Anonymous, Hammond leaked 5 million private emails taken from Stratfor to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, a release that came to be known as the Global Intelligence Files, or GI Files.


Librarians Versus the NSA

Zoë Carpenter
The Nation
May 6, 2015

Alison Macrina had bad news for the 30 or so librarians in the darkened auditorium on a recent Friday. “Your password is bad,” she informed them. “I’m really sorry. Everything you’ve learned about passwords is wrong. It’s not your fault.”

Macrina was nearly an hour into a presentation on digital privacy. She and her colleagues had covered encrypted browsers, tracking, mobile security, surveillance laws, and what to do if federal agents show up with a letter from the government demanding library records. Many of the librarians were bent over their notebooks, scribbling frantically as Macrina whipped through her slides.


Doctors of the World: how we discovered GCHQ was spying on us

Leigh Daynes
Open Democracy
19 April 2015

We reiterated that our doctors, nurses and midwives are not a threat to national security and that we’re an independent health charity with over 30 years’ experience in delivering impartial care in some of the world’s poorest and most dangerous places. Our aid priorities are indeed calculated on the basis of need alone and we felt the need to make clear that this aid is never used to further a particular political or religious standpoint. Also, like other humanitarian actors, we adhere strictly to the fundamental principles of independence, neutrality and impartiality in our work and we have robust anti-fraud and anti-corruption policies and procedures in place. So why target us?


Mall of America Security Catfished Black Lives Matter Activists, Documents Show

By Lee Fang
March 24, 2015
The Intercept

Documents obtained by The Intercept indicate that security staff at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota used a fake Facebook account to monitor local Black Lives Matter organizers, befriend them, and obtain their personal information and photographs without their knowledge.

Evidence of the fake Facebook account was found in a cache of files provided by the Mall of America to Bloomington officials after a large Black Lives Matter event at the mall on December 20 protesting police brutality. The files included briefs on individual organizers, with screenshots that suggest that much of the information was captured using a Facebook account for a person named “Nikki Larson.”

Metadata from some of the documents lists the software that created them as belonging to “Sam Root” at the “Mall of America.” A Facebook account for a Sam Root lists his profession as “Intelligence Analyst at Mall of America.”


Here’s What the Feds Were Investigating Before 9/11. And It’s Not Al-Qaeda.

by Will Potter
Green is the New Red
March 17, 2015

Just three months before the September 11th attacks, U.S. anti-terrorism resources weren’t focused on Al-Qaeda — they were also being spent trying to build a case against environmental activists for “weapons of mass destruction” based on website posts.

New documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms opened an investigation to determine whether Anarchist Cookbook-style booklets posted online violated a law against distributing information related to weapons of mass destruction. The booklets were posted on EarthLiberationFront.com, which was the public website operated by above-ground supporters of an illegal, underground group called the Earth Liberation Front, or ELF. The ELF uses property destruction, including arson, to inflict economic damage on businesses they say are damaging the environment.

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