Archive for October, 2014

This is how Tom Englehardt starts his starts his interview with Laura Poitras, after he saw her “engrossing new film on Edward Snowden,” at the New York Film Festival.

poitras_snowden_ap_ss_img

Here’s a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! stat from our new age of national security. How many Americans have security clearances? The answer: 5.1 million, a figure that reflects the explosive growth of the national security state in the post-9/11 era. Imagine the kind of system needed just to vet that many people for access to our secret world (to the tune of billions of dollars). We’re talking here about the total population of Norway and significantly more people than you can find in Costa Rica, Ireland, or New Zealand. And yet it’s only about 1.6% of the American population, while on ever more matters, the unvetted 98.4% of us are meant to be left in the dark.

Here are couple more links and review of this film:

  1. Citizenfour review – Poitras’ victorious film shows Snowden vindicated
  2. The Holder of Secrets
  3. Snowden Film Tests Hollywood Obama Backers
  4. PopPolitics: Laura Poitras on Edward Snowden’s Reaction to ‘Citizenfour’ (Listen)

Notes from RI Rights meeting, Saturday Oct. 18, 2014, Knight Memorial Library, Elmwood Ave.

Present: Randall Rose, Terry Cummings, Patricia Raub and Cathy Orloff,( who did the notes.)

We talked about Ferguson, MO, and the ongoing protest. Some local people are there: Pia Ward and Nick Katkevich. Terry got no feedback, but will try to contact them.

Also Servio Gomez’ group: End Brutality PVD. Has a blog and FaceBook page. Had an event at RIC.

USA Freedom Act — We signed the letter in September. But the bill is not moving forward, b/c many in Congress think it goes too far, whereas we did not think it went far enough, but was better than nothing.

Encrypting Phones — it only affects information that stays on the phone itself, not info transmitted on the phone. Maybe just a marketing tool by web companies that know people are concerned about privacy? See https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/10/09/police-act-furious-encrypted-phones-still-love-heres/ for more info.

Snowden film “Citizenfour” in NYC, supposedly great, probably coming to the Cable Car? If yes we can set up a table outside it. Cathy will call and see if they’ll tell her if it’s coming.

Restore the Fourth organization, headquarters near Boston. They are looking for local chapters, but we had some concerns re: they want members to pay dues to the national organization. Randall will find out the amount of the dues. We could become a local chapter that overlaps our Rights organization. Or sponsor just one member. Or just cooperate on actions. Or ignore them. Tabled for now. Noted that Electronic Frontier Foundation EFF does not take local chapters.

Discussion of fact that a lot of local police departments are getting military equipment, U.S. feds are giving away stuff. Are fire departments also getting militarized?

RI Rights Facebook site — Terry said it seems to be just himself and about 36 users. Whereas the Occupy site is about 8000 – RI and other states. Peter does the Rights blog and puts up our meeting notes. Could we send him links from the NY Times, etc.? And/or send out a request to the FB list to encourage others to participate? Should we have both FB and the blog? Feeling was generally yes for now. Patricia will try to send Terry some articles for FB.

Net Neutrality  — Are we interested? Yes. Should we have an event with a speaker? Maybe Chris Hedges, Naomi Klein, Bruce Schneider, or the head of Restore the Fourth? Maybe in January? Would take some organizing. Try to draw from the Boston area. Ask for suggestions on the list.

Constitutional Convention was briefly discussed. Cathy was concerned it might be used to lower/weaken local property taxes (which many wealthy and business groups speak against) in the name of “equitable state-wide school funding.” Would be a regressive tax shift. Meanwhile a CC still being debated on the op-ed pages, on our elist and in pre-election RI.

Patricia distributed “Vote yes on 6″ cards, related to the transportation bond issue.

Patricia will check calendar re: date for November meeting.

The next RI Rights meeting is at 1pm Sat., October 18th, 2014, at the Knight Memorial Library (275 Elmwood Ave, Providence) in the downstairs auditorium.

Some things to discuss:

  • the upcoming Snowden film
  • our letter against the USA Freedom Act
  • net neutrality, other federal and state bills
  • talk about new laws to enable tapping cellphones
  • affiliating with Restore the Fourth?