Fight for the Future


The Internet Wants to Give Chelsea Manning A Hug

Posted 07:58 EST on January 16, 2017
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, January 16, 2017
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

Thousands are joining online #HugsForChelsea campaign, posting photos with arms outstretched calling for President Obama to grant commutation request

Following reports that Chelsea Manning is on President Obama’s “short list” for a possible commutation, the Internet has exploded with support for the imprisoned transgender transparency advocate. Over the weekend, thousands of people started taking part in a spontaneous #HugsForChelsea campaign, posting photos of themselves with their arms outstretched as if waiting to give Chelsea Manning a hug, calling for President Obama to grant her clemency. Some prominent individuals including Michael Stipe of REM have joined the effort.

See a selection of #HugsForChelsea photos here: http://imgur.com/a/GS2Tw

See the landing page for the campaign here.

“Chelsea has so much love and support coming from people across the political spectrum,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, who posted the first #HugsForChelsea photo, “She has suffered enough. People are coming out of the woodwork to speak out. President Obama needs to do the right thing and free her now. After getting to know her as one of her supporters over the last year, I personally can’t wait to give her a hug.”

“As President Obama’s days in office wind down, people from all walks of life are standing in solidarity with Chelsea and urging the President to save her before it is too late,” said Chase Strangio, Chelsea’s ACLU attorney. “After years of suffering in prison under horrific conditions including long stretches of solitary confinement, the denial of health care for gender dysphoria and arbitrary punishments including for attempting suicide, Chelsea needs to be set free before this treatment results in her death.”

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Background:

More than 100,000 people signed an official Whitehouse.gov petition, meeting the threshold to require a response from the President.

Hundreds of thousands have signed previous petitions organized by Fight for the Future and other groups decrying Chelsea’s treatment while in prison

The ACLU and more than a dozen prominent LGBT organizations sent a letter to President Obama calling for Chelsea’s commutation

Amnesty International sent a letter to President Obama, and supporters sent over 25,000 emails to the White House.

Human Rights Watch sent a letter to President Obama supporting clemency

Dozens of other human rights, free speech, government transparency, and civil liberties organizations have called for Chelsea’s release

A wide range of notable people have publicly supported Chelsea including Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Morris C. Davis, journalist Glenn Greenwald, Sean Ono Lennon, REM lead singer Michael Stipe, comedian Margaret Cho, Thurston Moore, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine,, and many others.

Learn more at FreeChelsea.com, and follow Chelsea on Twitter at @xychelsea

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Boston Police scrap plan to purchase social media surveillance software following public backlash over civil liberties

Posted 08:42 EST on January 14, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, January 14, 2016
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

The Boston Police Department announced yesterday that – for now – they will not be moving ahead with their plan to spend $1.4 million on social media monitoring software. The announcement comes amid growing public outcry about the plan, which would have given local police Orwellian capabilities to constantly scan and analyze online speech in the area.

“This is a huge victory and offers a glimmer of hope for our basic rights at a time when it is in short supply,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, a group that led efforts to oppose the BPD’s surveillance aspirations, “Mass surveillance programs like the one the Boston Police intended to launch don’t actually make us safer, but they have a profoundly chilling effect on freedom of speech and our basic civil rights.”

Last month, digital rights group Fight for the Future and a dozen other civil liberties organizations sent a letter to the mayor and city council calling for them to halt the plan. In coordination with the Massachusetts chapter of the ACLU, they also collected thousands of signatures on a petition from Bostonians opposed to the deal.

When the Boston Globe issued a misguided endorsement of the BPD plan, Greer wrote a rebuttal, which was widely shared. BPD drew even more criticism on the plan when it was revealed that they had bent the rules in the Boston Trust Act in order to hand over at least 9 people to federal immigration officials for deportation, violating a city policy preventing cops from getting involved in immigration enforcement.

“City governments and law enforcement agencies around the country should take note of what happened here in Boston. The public will not allow them to waste our tax dollars on dangerous tools that won’t make us safer but will enable mass discrimination and violations of our rights,” Greer added.

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Fight for the Future is a digital rights nonprofit best known for organizing the largest online protests in history against SOPA, for net neutrality, and against government surveillance. Learn more at FightForTheFuture.org or follow us on Twitter at @fightfortheftr

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Chelsea Manning reportedly on President Obama’s “short list” for Commutation

Posted 08:55 EST on January 11, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, January 11, 2016
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

Hundreds of thousands of petition signers, dozens of LGBTQ and human rights organizations have condemned U.S. government’s treatment of Chelsea, called for her release

NBC News is reporting that Chelsea Manning, who has served 7 years of a 35 year sentence, is on President Obama’s “short list” for commutation.

Chelsea Manning’s attorney at the ACLU, Chase Strangio, said:

“The Obama administration has done many commendable things to protect the rights of LGBTQ people, but in the case of Chelsea Manning they have systematically mistreated her and denied her access to medically recommended gender-related health care. Chelsea won’t survive another 5 years in prison, much less another 30. President Obama has 9 days to do the right thing and commute her sentence. The world is watching, and we hope that he stands on the side of justice, and that his legacy will be one of standing up for trans people’s rights, not having extinguished one of our community’s brightest lights.”

Chelsea’s Appellate Counsels Nancy Hollander and Vincent Ward said:

“As Chelsea’s appellate counsel we urge President Obama to act now and commute her sentence to time served. Her appeal will take years. It is past time to start caring for a Soldier who stood up for all of us.”

Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, said:

“Chelsea Manning is a compassionate, thoughtful, brilliant human being whose actions have always been motivated by the same thing: her desire to help people and make the world a better place. She has suffered enough. President Obama should act now to right this wrong before it’s too late.”

If the NBC News report is accurate and President Obama moves to commute Manning’s sentence, he will be responding to overwhelming public outcry about Chelsea’s mistreatment while incarcerated.

-More than 100,000 people signed an official Whitehouse.gov petition, meeting the threshold to require a response from the President.

-Hundreds of thousands have signed previous petitions organized by Fight for the Future and other groups decrying Chelsea’s treatment while in prison

-The ACLU and more than a dozen prominent LGBT organizations sent a letter to President Obama calling for Chelsea’s commutation

-Amnesty International sent a letter to President Obama, and supporters sent over 25,000 emails to the White House

-Dozens of other human rights, free speech, government transparency, and civil liberties organizations have called for Chelsea’s release

-A wide range of notable people have publicly supported Chelsea including Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Morris C. Davis, journalist Glenn Greenwald, Sean Ono Lennon, REM lead singer Michael Stipe, comedian Margaret Cho, Thurston Moore, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine,, and many others.

Learn more at FreeChelsea.com, and follow Chelsea on Twitter at @xychelsea

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Fight for the Future stands with Standing Rock

Posted 16:08 EST on December 4, 2016
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This post was written by Lilia Villa, a former FFTF campaigner who is currently at Standing Rock. Photos by Lilia Villa as well.

We call on all Internet users to educate themselves, get involved, and help spread the word about what is happening in North Dakota at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

Native Americans who are speaking out have been brutally attacked and placed under extreme surveillance by the U.S. government. Most recently a young woman was severely injured and may lose her arm after police fired concussion grenades into a crowd. [1] We fight to defend the Internet for exactly these moments–when human rights are being trampled and the world needs to pay attention.

The Army Corps of Engineers has issued an eviction notice to the Standing Rock water protectors, claiming they will not have permission to camp there after December 5th. A spokesperson for the Morton County Sheriff’s department has said that if they stay, “they have to live with the consequences of potentially freezing to death.” They have also warned that those delivering supplies could face up to a $1k fine. We can only assume the human rights situation will worsen if the government moves ahead with this plan.

As you read this, Dakota Access Pipeline, LLC, is knowingly plowing through sacred sites, burial grounds, and preparing to drill under the river without a permit – threatening the water supply of nearly 18 million Americans and the nation’s largest aquifer [2] – all with what appears to be full support from both state and federal authorities.  

Water Protectors, as the #NoDAPL movement has asked to be called, continue to be brutalized with excessive militarized force while praying peacefully in opposition.[3] Major news networks have failed to cover the story on television, making social media instrumental in helping indigenous people share the continued oppression and human rights violations as they play out in real time on Facebook Live - feeding the growing resistance in solidarity that’s now become an international movement.  

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It’s a big deal. Over 300 indigenous tribes from across the US and around the world have converged along with thousands of allies for what many have called “the largest, most diverse tribal action in at least a century, perhaps since Little Bighorn.” [4]

While technology has helped them tell their story and find support, even more powerful people and institutions are using technology to conduct indiscriminate surveillance and suppression of free speech.

You may have noticed your Facebook timeline erupting with what seemed like friends traveling and “checking in” to the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota in the last few weeks. According to a viral post, the flood of check-ins was intended to “overwhelm and confuse” police agencies, saying that the Morton County Sheriff’s Department had been using check-ins to identify and “target” water protectors. [5]

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Law enforcement and private DAPL security have maced, tear gassed, shot rubber bullets, exploded CS (tear gas) grenades, sprayed water cannons in sub-zero temperatures, and released attack dogs on water protectors. They have arrested hundreds so far, targeting indigenous people and leaders, and even caged some in dog kennels [6]– all for praying to defend their land and their drinking water. Both the UN and Amnesty International are now monitoring the human rights abuses happening at Standing Rock as public outrage keeps growing.

With more than 1.5 million check-ins, it was probably the largest counter-surveillance action ever taken.

Putting aside the effectiveness of it, the Facebook users that checked in at Standing Rock water protector camps believed they were creating cover for activists who were actually there, and whose social media presence was being monitored by law enforcement. That means over 1.5 million people worked together to protect indigenous people, and to evade the ubiquitous surveillance of our social networks by law enforcement. That is huge.

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But law enforcement has been doing more than just following social media posts. Signs of illegal IMSI catcher intrusion, or “stingrays,” and other surveillance tactics have been reported on the ground. Cell phone communications and video live feeds have been disrupted, often at critical times when law enforcement attacks on the water protectors are most intense.

“People have reported having their phones misbehaving in odd ways. Batteries dying without warning are the most common reports. But there are creepier incidence, like FaceTime turning on by itself, voice recorders activating, apps malfunctioning, browsers seizing, messages disappearing, and strange noises during calls. My iPhone reset itself as if brand new from the box in my first week at Standing Rock.“ [7]

On October 20, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and the ACLU submitted FOIA and Open Records Requests to investigate the possible use of unconstitutional surveillance at Standing Rock. [8] In the press release, they noted that “Water Protectors and allies have been continuously surveilled by low-flying planes, helicopters, and drones, and have had local cell phone communications jammed and possibly recorded.”

What is happening at Standing Rock is an unprecedented crisis, and we are all witness to it. It is inexcusable to have, on American soil, a racist policy being enforced with police brutality, censorship, human rights abuses, and to have silence from our elected officials in response. Also, climate change is real, it threatens all of us, and actions to slow and stop fossil fuel infrastructure—while the world transitions to solar energy—are the front lines of the fight.

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We stand in solidarity with the water protectors at Standing Rock and ask anyone who wants to support their efforts to visit the websites for Oceti Sakowin Camp, Sacred Stone Camp, and the Standing Rock Medic + Healer Council to get involved in their efforts. You can help by going there to join them – and if you can’t – by getting loud in your communities and donating.

Spread the word.

<3 Fight for the Future

Sources:

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/22/dakota-access-pipeline-protester-seriously-hurt-during-police-standoff-standing-rock
  2. http://www.sfweekly.com/news/news-news/standing-standing-rock/
  3. https://www.democracynow.org/2016/11/21/headlines/standing_rock_100_injured_after_police_attack_with_water_cannons_rubber_bullets_mace
  4. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/09/12/us/12tribes.html?_r=0
  5. http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/11/01/500268879/more-than-a-million-check-in-on-facebook-to-support-the-standing-rock-sioux
  6. http://abcnews.go.com/US/dakota-access-pipeline-protester-felt-betrayed-dog-kennel/story?id=43251043
  7. http://www.ocetisakowincamp.org/single-post/2016/11/29/Untitled
  8. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/georgianne-nienaber/fcc-investigates-stingray_b_12680294.html
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URGENT: The FBI, CIA, and other law enforcement agencies get expanded powers to hack into your computer and phone on Thursday, December 1. Some senators are pushing legislation to stop them, but they need more senators to join them immediately.

Posted 10:20 EST on November 29, 2016

Beginning at midnight on Thursday, December 1, 2016, anyone who uses a VPN, Tor browser, or other privacy protection tools can more easily get hacked by the government.

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are scheduled to get expanded powers to remotely access and search computers, phones, and storage devices in cases where people suspected of being “related” to a crime  use technological means to conceal their location.

That is, unless Congress takes action to stop these hacking powers from taking effect.

Under current criminal procedure rules, if the FBI or any other agency wants to hack into your computer, they need to get a warrant from a federal judge located within your federal judicial district. Under a new amendment to the rule that takes effect on Thursday, if you use encryption, disable location tracking, or have been a botnet victim, the FBI can get a warrant to hack you from any of the more than 500 federal magistrate judges around the country.

So, if the FBI wants to hack you but they don’t have evidence that passes muster with your local federal judge, they will be able to take their case to a more lenient (or more naïve) judge located anywhere in the country.

Another clause in the rule change would let any federal judge authorize hacking operations for multiple devices in cases involving the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. That means if you are a victim of a botnet or had your computer infected by some malware, the government could remotely hack you under a mass hacking warrant issued by any federal judge.

The rule change was never voted on—or even debated—by Congress. It comes from the Judicial Conference, the national policy-making body for the federal courts, which earlier in the year agreed to a FBI proposal to amend Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (FRCrmP) so they could get warrants to hack multiple computers in different districts. The Judicial Conference has authority to make technical changes to the rules governing criminal proceedings, but this proposal goes way beyond mere technicalities and should be subject to public and legislative debate.  

We don’t have much time, but we can still stop the government from getting these new mass hacking powers. Dial 1-919-FREEDOM or use this page to get connected with your senators.

A bipartisan group of senators and representatives is pushing legislation to block the Judicial Conference’s amendment or at least delay it for a few months so Congress can hold a debate. They will be bringing their bills to the floor for unanimous consent consideration on Tuesday and Wednesday. If no senators object, the bills could pass.

While Congress is unlikely to approve the bill to fully block the rule change (the so-called “Stop Mass Hacking Act”) they could possibly be convinced to pass a bill from Senator Chris Coons to delay it until July 1, 2017.

According to strategists on the Hill, the best approach at this late stage is to get the Senate to pass the bill first and then use that as pressure to urge the House to follow suit – ideally before the rule change takes effect on Thursday, but they could also pass it at a later date and have the rule change repealed.

The best thing you can do to stop the hacking rule is to call your senators and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to ask them to delay the rule change. Dial 1-919-FREEDOM or use this page to get connected with your senators.

After you call your senators, make an extra call to Majority Leader McConnell and urge him to agree to unanimous consent on delaying the Rule 41 change. You can reach him at (202) 224-2541.

Here’s what you should say when you call your senators:

“I am a constituent from [town or city] and I am calling to urge the Senator to agree to unanimous consent on legislation to delay the Rule 41 changes on warrant requirements for government hacking of people’s computers. This rule change could have a big impact on the privacy of all Americans and it should be debated by Congress before going into effect.”

You can find your senators’ numbers below.

Alabama

Jeff Sessions  (202) 224-4124

Richard Shelby  (202) 224-5744

Alaska

Lisa Murkowski  (202) 224-6665

Daniel Sullivan  (202) 224-3004

Arizona

Jeff Flake  (202) 224-4521

John McCain  (202) 224-2235

Arkansas

John Boozman  (202) 224-4843

Tom Cotton  (202) 224-2353

California

Barbara Boxer  (202) 224-3553

Dianne Feinstein  (202) 224-3841

Colorado

Michael Bennet  (202) 224-5852

Cory Gardner  (202) 224-5941

Connecticut

Richard Blumenthal  (202) 224-2823

Chris Murphy  (202) 224-4041

Delaware

Tom Carper  (202) 224-2441

Chris Coons  (202) 224-5042

Florida

Bill Nelson  (202) 224-5274

Marco Rubio  (202) 224-3041

Georgia

Johnny Isakson  (202) 224-3643

David Perdue  (202) 224-3521

Hawaii

Mazie Hirono  (202) 224-6361

Brian Schatz  (202) 224-3934

Idaho

Mike Crapo  (202) 224-6142

James Risch  (202) 224-2752

Illinois

Dick Durbin  (202) 224-2152

Mark Kirk  (202) 224-2854

Indiana

Daniel Coats  (202) 224-5623

Joe Donnelly  (202) 224-4814

Iowa

Joni Ernst  (202) 224-3254

Chuck Grassley  (202) 224-3744

Kansas

Jerry Moran  (202) 224-6521

Pat Roberts  (202) 224-4774

Kentucky

Mitch McConnell  (202) 224-2541

Rand Paul  (202) 224-4343

Louisiana

Bill Cassidy  (202) 224-5824

David Vitter  (202) 224-4623

Maine

Susan Collins  (202) 224-2523

Angus King  (202) 224-5344

Maryland

Ben Cardin  (202) 224-4524

Barbara Mikulski  (202) 224-4654

Massachusetts

Elizabeth Warren  (202) 224-4543

Ed Markey  (202) 224-2742

Michigan

Gary Peters  (202) 224-6221

Debbie Stabenow  (202) 224-4822

Minnesota

Al Franken  (202) 224-5641

Amy Klobuchar  (202) 224-3244

Mississippi

Roger Wicker  (202) 224-6253

Thad Cochran  (202) 224-5054

Missouri

Roy Blunt  (202) 224-5721

Claire McCaskill  (202) 224-6154

Montana

Steve Daines  (202) 224-2651

Jon Tester  (202) 224-2644

Nebraska

Deb Fischer  (202) 224-6551

Ben Sasse  (202) 224-4224

Nevada

Harry Reid  (202) 224-3542

Dean Heller  (202) 224-6244

New Hampshire

Kelly Ayotte  (202) 224-3324

Jean Shaheen  (202) 224-2841

New Jersey

Cory Booker  (202) 224-3224

Robert Menendez  (202) 224-4744

New Mexico

Martin Heinrich  (202) 224-5521

Tom Udall  (202) 224-6621

New York

Kirsten Gillibrand  (202) 224-4451

Chuck Schumer  (202) 224-6542

North Carolina

Thom Tillis  (202) 224-6342

Richard Burr  (202) 224-3154

North Dakota

Heidi Heitkamp  (202) 224-2043

John Hoeven  (202) 224-2551

Ohio

Sherrod Brown  (202) 224-2315

Rob Portman  (202) 224-3353

Oklahoma

Jim Inhofe  (202) 224-4721

James Lankford  (202) 224-5754

Oregon

Jeff Merkley  (202) 224-3753

Ron Wyden  (202) 224-5244

Pennsylvania

Bob Casey  (202) 224-6324

Pat Toomey  (202) 224-4254

Rhode Island

Jack Reed  (202) 224-4642

Sheldon Whitehouse  (202) 224-2921

South Carolina

Lindsey Graham  (202) 224-5972

Tim Scott  (202) 224-6121

South Dakota

Mike Rounds  (202) 224-5842

John Thune  (202) 224-2321

Tennessee

Lamar Alexander  (202) 224-4944

Bob Corker  (202) 224-3344

Texas

John Cornyn  (202) 224-2934

Ted Cruz  (202) 224-5922

Utah

Orrin Hatch  (202) 224-5251

Mike Lee  (202) 224-5444

Vermont

Pat Leahy  (202) 224-4242

Bernie Sanders  (202) 224-5141

Virginia

Tim Kaine  (202) 224-4024

Mark Warner  (202) 224-2023

Washington

Maria Cantwell  (202) 224-3441

Patty Murray (202) 224-2621

West Virginia

Shelley Moore Capito  (202) 224-6472

Joe Manchin  (202) 224-3954

Wisconsin

Tammy Baldwin  (202) 224-5653

Ron Johnson  (202) 224-5323

Wyoming

John Barrasso  (202) 224-6441

Mike Enzi  (202) 224-3424

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