This week on The Final Straw, we present a conversation that I had with Lorax B. Horne, a non-binary writer and journalist from Canada, Ecuador and the United Kingdom who is currently the Editor-In-Chief of the data transparency collective, Distributed Denial of Secrets, or DDOSecrets. In June of this year, the collective released roughly 269 gigabytes of hacked information from 251 law enforcement agencies, dubbed BlueLeaks. The data comes from the shadowy hacker group, Anonymous, and was retrieved from Federal Fusion centers which facilitate information gathering and dissemination between high level agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice and the FBI with state and local law enforcement and are situated around the so-called United States.
For the hour, Lorax talks about the development of fusion centers, the contents of the #BlueLeaks trove, insights drawn by journalists who have used the data to cover things like far-right conspiracy theories entering law enforcement bulletins, their editing process, social media and governmental attempts to cover up the contents and the persecution of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange.
To check out a collection of the articles written about the BlueLeaks collected by Lorax, check out the article up on medium.com entitled “What is BlueLeaks”. For some useful links to their work, you can check out our show notes at thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org. To dig into the data itself and see other collections released by Distributed Denial of Secrets and other groups like Unicorn Riot, you can visit ddosecrets.com, see the #AssangeLeaks at AssangeLeaks.org, their Project Whispers is a searchable database of fascist discord logs at Whispers.DDOSecrets.com, and you can support DDOS with recurring payments at their OpenCollective.com page. You can also keep up on their work by following them on Mastadon, fedbook, Telegram, InstaGram and SubStack NewsLetter, many of which links and more show up on their Linktr.ee.
You can find Lorax’s writing on MuckRack and follow them on twitter at @BBHorne.
As a quick update on Sean Swain’s situation, he’s still stuck without phone or email access, but he appears to be getting his mail. This is a hard situation for a presidential candidate and surely some listeners have pull with the Federal Elections Commission to correct this injustice. A couple of ways to help out Sean from where you’re at include contributing to the fundraiser set up to help raise legal funds for him or you can contact the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections director Annette Chambers-Smith by calling: 614-387-0588
or writing to:
4545 Fisher Road, Suite D, Columbus, OH 43228
Sean’d probably appreciate you asking why Sean Swain (Ohio number A243205) is being denied access to jpay services, what happened to his hundreds of dollars of music and other items that didn’t transfer over to him in Virginia and why his phone services are currently shut down.
New Episodes of “Live Like The World Is Dying”
The Final Straw is a proud member of the Channel Zero Network of anarchist podcasts. And here’s a jingle from another member of CZN, Margaret Killjoy. We suggest listeners check out the recent practical episodes of ‘Live Like The World is Dying’, covering topics of how to treat gunshot wounds, good approaches to masking up against chemical agents, body armor, open source medical chemistry and a more…
Doing For Selves: Open Source Supplies and Tenant Organizing
Welcome to a podcast special from The Final Straw. While William is was busy producing an episode featuring voices of medical professionals and activists inside and out of prison to talk about the impacts of covid-19 on incarcerated people for broadcast, I had a couple of conversations about work folks are doing on the outside that I’d like to share.
Sean Swain [00:08:06-00:15:12]
Hacking To Fight Covid-19
First, I spoke with Bill Slavin of Indie Lab, space in Virginia that is in the process of shifting it’s purpose since the epidemic became apparent from an broader scientific and educational maker space to work on the manufacturing and distribution of covid-19 related items in need such as testing kits, medical grade oxygen, ventilators and 3d printed n95 quality masks for medical professionals to fill public health needs. Bill talks generally about the ways that community and scientists can come together through mutual aid to deal with this crisis left by the inaction of the government on so many levels. They are also crowd-sourcing fundraising for scaling up their production and facilities and there’s a link in our show notes on that. The platform that Bill talks about in the chat is known as Just One Giant Lab, or JOGL. Consider this an invitation for makers to get involved.
Organizing With Your Neighbors For Homes and Dignity
Then, I talked to Julian of Tenants United of Hyde Park and Woodlawn in Chicago. What with all of the talk about rent strikes in the face of such huge leaps in unemployment during the spread of covid-19 and accompanying economic collapse, I thought it’d be helpful to have this chat to help spur on these conversations of how we seize power back into our hands while we’re being strangled by quarantine and hopefully afterwards. You can learn more about the group Julian works with at TenantsUnitedHPWL.Org. Philadelphia Tenants Union and Los Angeles Tenants Union were both mentioned and will be linked in the show notes, alongside a reminder that the national Autonomous Tenants Union Network (ATUN) is being organized and folks can reach out to Philly TU or LA TU via email to get onto their organizing zoom calls. Finally, if you’re in the Chicago area and need a lawyer for housing, check out Lawyers Committee For Better Housing online at lcbh.org. Julian also mentioned squatting of homes in southern CA owned by the state, here’s a link to an article.
WNC Mutual Aid Projects
Linked in our show notes is also a googledoc that Cindy Milstein and others are helping to keep updated that lists many mutual aid projects that have sprung up all over concerning the exacerbation of capitalism by the covid-19 crisis, as well as a similar page up from ItsGoingDown.Org
If you’re in so-called Western NC and want to get involved, the project Asheville Survival Project has a presence on fedbook and is soliciting donations of food and sanitary goods for distribution to indigent, bipoc, elder and immune compromised folks in the community. We’ll link some social media posts on the subject that list our donation sites around Asheville in the show notes and you can venmo donations to @AVLsurvival.
And check our show notes for an invitation to call the NC Department of Public Safety and Governor’s offices to demand the release of NC prisoners susceptible to infection and possible death of Corona Virus in the NC system due to improper care. Wherever you are listening, consider getting together with others and calling jails, prison agencies and the executive branches to demand similarly the release of AT THE VERY LEAST the aged, infirm, folks in pre-trial detention, upcoming release or who are held because they can’t pay bail.
North Carolina Corrections Department-Prison Division
My name is ________, and I am a North Carolina resident deeply concerned about the safety of the states’s incarcerated people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Incarcerated people have a unique vulnerability to disease due to their crowded, unsanitary living conditions and lack of access to adequate medical care. For humanitarian reasons as well as reasons of public health, we call for the immediate release of all people in the North Carolina prison system. We also urge that you stop the intake of new prisoners during the pandemic. The cost of failing to take these steps will be paid for in human lives, and we refuse to abandon our neighbors and loved ones to die in lockup.
Even while the world burns, our 10th anniversary still approaches and we’re still soliciting messages from you, our listenership. Not sure what to say, likely you have a LOT of time on your hands, so go back through our archives and dive in. If you want a deep dive, visit our website where you can find hundreds of hours of interviews and music. If you want to drop us a line, check out the link in the show notes, or you can leave a voicemail or signal voice memo at +18285710161, you can share an audio file with the google drive associated with the email email@example.com or send a link to a cloud stored audio filed to that email address. Tell us and listeners what you’ve appreciated and or where you’d like us to go with this project.
If you appreciate the work that we do here at TFS, you can also help us out by making a donation if you have extra cash rustling around. The link on our site called Donate/Merch will show you tons of ways. If, like most of us, money is super tight at the moment, no prob, we struggle together. You can share our show with other folks to get these voices out there and more folks in the conversation. And if you REALLY like us and have a community radio station nearby who you’d be excited to have us air on for free, get in touch with us and we’ll help. The page on our site entitled Radio Broadcasting has lots of info for radio stations and how to let them know you want us on the airwaves. Thanks!
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From Monument To Masses – Sharpshooter – The Impossible Leap In One Hundred Simple Steps
This week’s episode features the rest of a conversation with Layla AbdelRahim about her recent book, Wild Children – Domesticated Dreams: Civilization and the Birth of Education. We played the start of this conversation near the end of last week‘s show and continue it throughout this hour. Layla talks about education, domestication, patriarchy, capitalism, instrumentalism, empathy and much more. More of her writings can be found at http://layla.miltsov.org/
Sean Swain’s segment this week talks about ISIL/ISIS, the crisis in Iraq and revisits the stupidity and cruel ignorance of U.S. intervention into Iraq since the 1980’s.
2nd, “On March 21st, 2012 Higinio Ochoa III aka w0rmer, was arrested and charged with hacking law enforcement agency websites and posting the personal information of police officers online, as well as being accused of defacing a government website in Alabama. Hig was part of an Anonymous crew called the Cabincr3w.” (Anon-Sweden support page). w0rmer will be released into a halfway house after 2 years of incarceration this August, however he’ll be forced to live in Austin, TX, 4 hours from where his wife and now-1-year-old son live. Support folks are trying to raise $6,000 to help cover the move and some living expenses until both find gainful employment in Austin. More info at: http://www.youcaring.com/other/help-the-ochoa-family-to-reunite/190052
This week’s episode features a couple of announcements about the upcoming June 11th Day of Solidarity with Marius Mason, Eric McDavid and Longterm Anarchist and Eco Prisoners. For info on the cases of Eric & Marius and other folks needing support, along with ideas of what solidarity might look like, check out http://june11.org
Here in Asheville, there will be a 4pm picnic at Carrier Park where folks will talk about June 11th, Eric & Marius’s cases, solidarity and prison realities. Food will be present, but bring your own sides to share, especially if you have dietary restrictions.
At 9pm on June 11th, there’ll be a show at the Odditorium. The benefit requests a $5-20 donation. Bands include Aneides and Uninhabitable from Asheville, Burnt Books from South Carolina and Harsh Words from Georgia. Items’ll be raffled off and there’ll be plenty of info available and folks to chat with. On Fakebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1452424341665913/
For more events in your town, check out june11.org. Also announced was the online art exhibition curated by the Earth First! Prisoner Support Project and featuring the work of 23 different artists, many of whom are eco-prisoners. Check out http://neveraloneart.org for flyers and more info. It’ll be up and online from June 11th to June 30th.
Bursts read a statement by Sean on this episode concerning the U.S. economy and the role that counterfeiting money plays in it. Very informative, as always.
Following the announcements, we heard Cervidae, Ancient Oak, Deafest and more! Check out the playlist here
This week’s episode features two conversations. The first is with Micah Lee of the Electronic Frontier Foundation about the NSA leaks and what information that came out of it (at the time of this show’s airing) was actually new and a general overview of what government surveillance in the U.S. looks like over computers.
The second conversation is with the Bay Area-based hacker, Bill Silverfox. Bill works with Hackmeet.org. We spend most of the hour discussing different communication technologies that most of us take for granted and talk about what can be done to use those mediums more safely.
Here’s a short list of projects worth checking out:
https://ssd.eff.org : The Surviellance Self-Defense project by the EFF has tons of information about technology and what’s known about tracking over those mediums. Also, check out https://www.eff.org for more general information, links to the https everywhere add-on for Mozilla Firefox.
https://torproject.org : Information and tools developed for freer and more secure use of the web. This project helps provide and protect anonymity of activists, journalists and other folks around the world, including in countries with strict internet censorship. You can download a more secure web-browser from them, too! It’s pretty rad. But, as their website points out, it’s not just your browser but how you traverse the web that can be a dealbreaker. This project has helped to secure communications among activists struggle against the state worldwide.
https://www.riseup.net : An amazing resource for anti-state, anti-capitalist, anti-oppression activists. They provide social-networking (via crabgrass), email, lists, information on web security, document sharing (via etherpad), news, chat, vpn and MORE! This project is pretty darn internally secure AND has refused to hand over information before. Plus, these little birds need some funds.
This week’s show features a conversation with the anarchist, Jason Hammonds, about his brother, Jeremy, who’s been imprisoned over a year without trial for allegedly leaking information to Wikileaks. The second conversation is an interview with a member of the Belarus Anarchist Black Cross about recent history and repression in Belarus.
First things first: Jeremy Hammond. The first half of this week’s show will be a discussion with Jason Hammonds, brother of imprisoned anarchist hacker and freedom of information activist Jeremy Hammond. Jeremy has been imprisoned for a year as the government builds it’s case
against him. Jeremy Hammond is accused of working with the hacker group, Anonymous, and for leaking information liberated from Strategic Forecasting, or Stratfor, and giving it to WikiLeaks. Much of the information in the so-called Stratfor Files indicate spying by company for the Federal Government on foreign leaders, Occupy Wall St, activists in Bhopal India and the hidden indictment against wikileaks-founder Julian Assange, among other things. More info on the case can be found at http://freehammond.com and http://freeanons.org
The second half of this week’s show features content gleaned from a friendly project out of Berlin, Germany. Anarchistisches Radio Berlin is a project that produces content for pirate radio around Germany and has been featuring interviews of recent in English when that is the common language between host and interviewee. The following segments features a conversation with a member of the Belarus Anarchist Black Cross on the subject of repression in their country. For the security of the guest, their voice was replaced by that of a German comrade. In order to translate into American radio a little better, we’ve overdubbed the interviewers voice as well. To learn more about the situation in Belarus, check out http://abc-belarus.org
This weeks show is an interview with Flatline from the Hackbloc collective and Bill Silverfox about internet security, hacking, hacktivism, Anonymous and other topics. In light of recent attacks by Anti-Sec against the Arizona DPS, Anonymous on multiple targets and alleged members’ subsequent arrests, the BART protests, Wikileaks, I thought it’d be good to shed some light on a misunderstood topic. We also discuss the role of hackers in the Arab Spring movement as well as international solidarity to disrupt corrupt government censorship and activity, in the hopes of facilitating a more free flow of information around the world (Malaysia, Australia, the U.S., Morocco, Libya, Egypt, China, Iran…etc). Lots of good introductory information on internet security and history of hacking during this hour-long show. Enjoy.
Streaming live on 8/26 @ 1PM EST at www.ashevillefm.org/
Available from 8/27/2011 @ 3AM EST at www.ashevillefm.org/the-final-straw