Vol 15 No 3/4 (2017): Surveillance and the Global Turn to Authoritarianism [PDF]

Edited by David Murakami Wood.

This is our first ever special "Responsive Issue," conceived of as something extra to our usual process of publication. We asked for shorter articles, written in a more punchy and accessible style, to cover specific countries which are moving in an authoritarian direction, and/or transnational issues that relate to the nexus of surveillance and authoritarianism. We would like to thank all of the authors and reviewers who rose so quickly to the challenge.

The cover image is of stencil graffiti spotted in London in 2017. #FreeAhmed refers to Ahmed Mansoor (or Mansour), the Emirati human rights defender currently serving ten years in prison for his views on the authoritarian government of the UAE (see Manu Luksch's interview with Mansoor which concludes this issue).

This issue is dedicated to Ahmed Mansoor, to the late Liu Xiaobo and Berta Caceres, and to all those countless dedicated and courageous people who risk their freedom and their lives to oppose authoritarianism and oppression...


That 1 Archive

August 2017(August 10, 2017) | Leaked Mass Surveillance/Immigration Bill | Foreign Policy

(August 10, 2017) | The NSC "Deep State" memo | via Foreign Policy
(August 09, 2017) | FBI file Marc Rich
(August 09, 2017) | FBI file Fred Trump | Updated and expanded
(August 04, 2017) | FBI file Gaeton Fonzi | Updated and expanded
(August 01, 2017) | Wheeler Complaint re: Bogus Seth Rich story

July 2017(July 31, 2017) | FBI Whistleblower Policy Directive 0971D

(July 31, 2017) | FBI file Bremer Kidnapping
(July 25, 2017) | JFK July 2017 release - all 10 parts | LARGE files
(July 23, 2017) | FBI file D.B. Cooper | Updated and expanded
(July 23, 2017) | FBI file German American Federation/Bund
(July 23, 2017) | POW/MIA Hearings and Reports | 9,000 pages

(July 21, 2017) | FBI file Barker Karpis
(July 21, 2017) | FBI file Eddie Lee Long
(July 21, 2017) | FBI file Raul Castro | Arizona Governor
(July 18, 2017) | FBI Social Networking Sites and FBI Employee Guidance
(July 17, 2017) | 1983 Kennedy-Andropov memo (original followed by translation)

(July 16, 2017) | The Asia Foundation: Past, Present, and Future | Congressional Research Service
(July 15, 2017) | Full CIA CREST database upload and text recognition IN PROGRESS as individual PDFs
(July 13, 2017) | FAIS (FinCEN Artificial Intelligence) documentation | Early 1990s
(July 13, 2017) | FBI file Jim Garrison | Updated and expanded
(July 13, 2017) | DHS Email System Documentation/Manual | Shows just how much they can search for FOIA requests

(July 13, 2017) | NTSB Accident Report for UA Flight 553 | Dorothy Hunt died onboard while transporting Watergate money
(July 13, 2017) | FBI file Curtis Roosevelt
(July 13, 2017) | Laramie County Sheriff NoDAPL materials
(July 10, 2017) | Katyn Forest Massacre Final Report
(July 10, 2017) | Katyn Forest Massacre Interim Report

(July 10, 2017) | Katyn Forest Massacre Hearings | Complete 7 volume set
(July 08, 2017) | CIA memo on policy of non-cooperation with GAO oversight
(July 07, 2017) | FBI file Fred Leroy Wineland | Single page cross-reference
(July 05, 2017) | Preet Bharara speeches | via Louis Flores
(July 04, 2017) | FBI file Anwar Nasser Aulaqi



How NSA Tracks You (Bill Binney)

KGB Defector Yuri Bezmenov reveals Russian Subversion Tactics

Spokane judge orders CIA interrogation lawsuit to trial

SEATTLE — A federal judge in Spokane on Monday officially denied a request to throw out a lawsuit against two psychologists who helped design the CIA’s harsh interrogation program used in the war on terror.

In his written order, U.S. District Judge Justin Quackenbush said a jury will hear the lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of three former detainees against James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen, who were under contract with the federal government following the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

The lawsuit claims the psychologists “designed, implemented, and personally administered an experimental torture program for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.” Under the program, detainees were subjected to physical assaults and sleep deprivation, forced to stand for days in diapers with their arms chained overhead, doused with icy water and stuffed into boxes, the ACLU said.

Quackenbush heard arguments from both sides on July 28 and issued a partial ruling in which he said he would consider whether all three detainees, Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud and the estate of Gul Rahman, who died in custody, should be included the lawsuit.



How a mind-control virus turns caterpillars into exploding 'zombies'

As if caterpillars didn’t have it hard enough.

Already the insect equivalent of an ugly duckling, caterpillars are also the potential victims of a “zombie” virus that causes them to explode in one of the most horrifying deaths in the animal kingdom.

Chris Miller, a researcher at the Wildlife Trust in Lancashire, England, was doing a butterfly survey when he spotted a dead caterpillar hanging from a leaf, in “an inverted U.”

That’s unusual, Miller said, because a caterpillar is a delicacy for birds in the area. Climbing onto a leaf in the middle of the day is like offering yourself up as lunch. And even in its long-dead state, the insect didn’t look quite right.

“It had started to go a bit mushy, is probably the nicest way of putting it,” Miller said.

Why would a caterpillar go against every survival instinct it had evolved over millennia and march out onto a leaf, in plain sight of predators?

It turns out the caterpillar didn’t have much say in the matter.

A type of virus had taken over the insect and turned it into a single-minded virus-spreading vessel.

The baculovirus halts a caterpillar’s moulting activity, encouraging it to keep eating and get bigger, which creates more of the virus. When the caterpillar is sufficiently massive, the virus alters its climbing activity, forcing it up high onto a leaf.

Right before the caterpillar dies, the virus releases an enzyme that liquefies the insect’s tissue. If the caterpillar is lucky it will be plucked off the leaf by a bird and, if not, its liquid-insides explode, raining down on the other caterpillars and branches below.

If those caterpillars consume the virus, the whole process starts over again...


27 Western spy tools confiscated by the Soviet KGB

A cane with a hidden blade was a close combat weapon for foreign spies. The blade could be taken out like a sword from its sheath or be unfolded, turning the cane into a sort of lance. There were also models with heavy knobs, which spies could use like maces...


Canadian diplomat in Cuba also suffered hearing loss

WASHINGTON — The Canadian government said Thursday that at least one Canadian diplomat in Cuba also has been treated for hearing loss following disclosures that a group of American diplomats in Havana suffered severe hearing loss that U.S. officials believe was caused by an advanced sonic device.

Global Affairs Canada spokeswoman Brianne Maxwell said Canadian officials “are aware of unusual symptoms affecting Canadian and US diplomatic personnel and their families in Havana. The government is actively working — including with US and Cuban authorities - to ascertain the cause.”

Maxwell added that officials don’t have any reason to believe Canadian tourists and other visitors could be affected.

Canada helped broker talks between Cuba and the United States that led to restored diplomatic relations.

In the fall of 2016, a series of U.S. diplomats began suffering unexplained losses of hearing, according to officials with knowledge of the investigation into the case. Several of the diplomats were recent arrivals at the embassy, which reopened in 2015 as part of President Barack Obama’s reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba...



Chiquita Papers Are Key Evidence in International Criminal Court Filing

Washington, D.C., May 18, 2017 – The National Security Archive’s Chiquita Papers collection represents key evidence behind a “communication” calling on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate officials from Chiquita Brands International for facilitating crimes against humanity committed by armed groups the company paid in Colombia.

The petition to the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor was brought by the International Human Rights Clinic of Harvard Law School, the International Federation for Human Rights, and the Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo, a Colombian human rights organization, and was made public today at a press conference in Bogotá, Colombia.

The Archive provided more than 48,000 pages of internal Chiquita records to the ICC as part of the communication, including financial records, legal memoranda, handwritten notes, and the secret, sworn testimony of company officials that help to identify individuals at Chiquita who steered millions of dollars in “sensitive payments” to Colombian insurgent groups, government security forces, and right-wing paramilitary militias.

The ICC action comes at an important moment, just as Colombia begins to implement a historic peace agreement ending more than 50 years of conflict with rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). In February, the Colombian prosecutor general ruled that the “voluntary financing” of paramilitary and insurgent groups by corporations like Chiquita should be investigated as crimes against humanity by a special tribunal established by the accord.

The communication asks the ICC “to monitor local Colombian proceedings to ensure they meet ICC standards, particularly with regards to private sector support for the paramilitaries and business’ accountability,” according to today’s press release...