Get Ready: Protesters Vow to ‘Flood the System’ for Climate and Planetary Justice

Rising Tide North America calls for mass actions this fall ‘to shut down the economic and political systems threatening our survival’

by: Sarah Lazare

“Communities on the front lines of fossil fuel extraction are fighting back,” said Ahmed Gaya, an organizer with Rising Tide Seattle. (Photo courtesy of Rising Tide North America)

From the tar sands of Alberta to the Port of Seattle to the communities in the blast zone of oil trains, organizers across North America are calling for a “wave of resistance” this fall to “shut down the economic and political systems threatening our survival.”Under the banner of “Flood the System,” the announcement was unveiled Wednesday by Rising Tide North America, part of an international climate justice network. The mass actions, slated for September and November, are timed to lead up to the United Nations COP21 climate negotiations slated to take place in Paris in November and December.Organizers say they are targeting the international gathering in order to highlight exactly what is not working. “[T]he UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process has been co-opted by elite interests and that any Paris outcomes will be insufficient to meaningfully address the climate crisis and ensure justice for the majority of the world’s people,” declares a press statement.But the real target goes far beyond any one event or body. “We need to wash away the root causes of climate change—capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy and colonialism,” reads the group’s call-to-action. “These systems enable the domination of people and Earth. They place gains for the elite before the well being of our communities.””We need to wash away the root causes of climate change—capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy and colonialism.” —Rising Tide North AmericaSo as people from around the world mobilize and demand meaningful change at the talks in Paris, and highlight grassroots solutions, Flood the System will stage direct actions across North America.Sandy Nurse, organizer with the New York City chapter of Rising Tide, told Common Dreams that the network is urging people to plan their own actions locally and coordinate regionally and continentally through spokescouncils—formed when affinity groups come together around a common purpose. Nurse said that, while actions are not yet public, “there are a lot of ideas. Groups might block oil trains, they might block fossil fuel destruction.”Organizers in the U.S. and Canada are having “initial conversations” with groups in Mexico about the coordinated actions.If past actions are any indication, Flood the System will make a big splash.Rising Tide Seattle is one of the organizations behind last week’s series of direct actions—by land and sea—to protest Shell Oil’s arctic drilling fleet in the Port of Seattle.Furthermore, many of those organizing Flood the System were involved in last year’s more than 400,000-strong People’s Climate March in New York City, followed by the “Flood Wall Street” demonstration and sit-in attended by thousands in the financial district of lower Manhattan—the hub of global capitalism.Organizers say Flood the System looks to other movements for inspiration, especially those “led by low-wage workers, immigrants, and communities responding to police brutality,” with many Rising Tide organizers directly involved in, or allying with, these various struggles.””There is a sense that there is so much happening right now that is powerful and empowering from the grassroots,” said Nurse. “People are expressing anger, taking to the streets, not fearful, and very activated in a way that has caught the imagination of the entire country and many places around the world.””Communities on the front lines of fossil fuel extraction are fighting back,” said Ahmed Gaya, an organizer with Rising Tide Seattle, in a statement. “From Seattle, to Alberta, to Appalachia, people are organized in opposition to extraction, and taking action to uproot the systems driving the crisis.”

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Source: Get Ready: Protesters Vow to ‘Flood the System’ for Climate and Planetary Justice | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

Judge Rules Obama Can Keep CIA Torture Report in the Shadows

ACLU slams decision, declaring: ‘The Senate’s landmark investigation into a dark period in our nation’s history should not stay behind closed government doors’

by: Sarah Lazare

“The direct, contemporaneous evidence shows that the full torture report is subject to the FOIA because Congress sent it to the executive branch with instructions that it be broadly used to ensure torture never happens again.” —Hina Shamsi, ACLU (Image: Common Dreams)

In a decision derided by the ACLU as “disappointing,” a federal judge on Wednesday ruled that the administration of President Barack Obama cannot be compelled by the court to hand over the full Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture.With a lawsuit citing the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the ACLU had sought to force the release of the full report, which totals nearly 7,000 pages.The roughly 500-page, heavily redacted executive summary of the report was released last year. But the full inquiry, which many say offers an important window into a shameful chapter of U.S. history, remains concealed from the public.U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg, who was appointed by Obama, claimed in the ruling that the document is immune from FOIA laws as it belongs to Congress.”At the end of the day, the ACLU asks the Court to interject itself into a high-profile conversation that has been carried out in a thoughtful and careful way by the other two branches of government,” wrote the judge.ACLU National Security Project director Hina Shamsi immediately condemned the decision as keeping “the American public from learning the whole truth about CIA torture.””The direct, contemporaneous evidence shows that the full torture report is subject to the FOIA because Congress sent it to the executive branch with instructions that it be broadly used to ensure torture never happens again,” said Shamsi in a statement emailed to Common Dreams. “The Senate’s landmark investigation into a dark period in our nation’s history should not stay behind closed government doors, but needs to see the light of day. We’re now considering our options on what to do next.”This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Source: Judge Rules Obama Can Keep CIA Torture Report in the Shadows | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

‘Weaponizing Vulnerabilities’: New Snowden Doc Reveals Spy Agencies Targeted Smartphones

The ‘Five Eyes’ alliance exploited weaknesses in popular browser and planned to hijack links to app stores to implant spyware on mobile phones, new documents show

by:Nadia Prupis

The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and its intelligence partners in the Five Eyes alliance exploited weaknesses in cell phone apps to spy on users, new documents reveal. (Photo: Japanexperterna.se/cc)

The intelligence alliance known as Five Eyes—comprising the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Australia—exploited security weaknesses in one of the world’s most popular browsers to obtain data about users and planned to use links to Google and Samsung app stores to infect smartphones with spyware, a top secret National Security Agency (NSA) document published Wednesday has revealed.According to the 2012 document, leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden and published jointly by CBC News and The Intercept, the NSA and its international counterparts took part in a series of workshops between November 2011 and February 2012 to find new ways to exploit smartphone technology for spying operations.The Intercept reports:As part of a pilot project codenamed IRRITANT HORN, the agencies were developing a method to hack and hijack phone users’ connections to app stores so that they would be able to send malicious “implants” to targeted devices. The implants could then be used to collect data from the phones without their users noticing.CBC continues:The Five Eyes alliance targeted servers where smartphones get directed whenever users download or update an app from Google and Samsung stores….Ultimately, the spy agencies wanted to implant spyware on certain smartphones to take control of a person’s device or extract data from it, the document suggests.The spy agencies also sought to match their targets’ smartphone devices to their online activities, using databases of emails, chats and browsing histories kept in the Five Eyes’ powerful XKeyScore tool to help build profiles on the people they were tracking.The project emerged in part due to concerns about the possibility of “another Arab spring,” referring to the 2011 wave of revolutionary actions in Tunisia, Egypt, and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa where several autocratic, Western-backed leaders were ousted.”Respecting agreements not to spy on each others’ citizens, the spying partners focused their attention on servers in non-Five Eyes countries, the document suggests,” write CBC’s Amber Hildebrandt and Dave Seglins. “The agencies targeted mobile app servers in France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Cuba, Morocco, the Bahamas and Russia.”The spy agencies also began targeting UC Browser—a popular app in India and China with growing usage in North America—in late 2011 after learning that it had leaked information about its half-billion users.According to the reporting, the operation was launched by a joint surveillance unit called the Network Tradecraft Advancement Team, which includes spies from each of the Five Eyes nations.The document frames the plan as a move for national security, with the agencies seeking to collect data or spy indefinitely on mobile phones of “suspected terrorists.” But they did so without alerting the public or the phone companies of the browser’s weaknesses, which “potentially put millions of users in danger of their data being accessed by other governments’ agencies, hackers or criminals,” Hildebrandt and Seglins write.”Of course, the security agencies don’t [disclose the information],” Ron Deibert, executive director of digital rights group Citizen Lab, which identified security gaps in UC Browser and alerted the company to those issues in April, told CBC. “Instead, they harbor the vulnerability. They essentially weaponize it.”This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Source: ‘Weaponizing Vulnerabilities’: New Snowden Doc Reveals Spy Agencies Targeted Smartphones | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community