Category Archives: Technology

Digital Security / Tenant Organizing / #MeToo and Updates from Hong Kong

Digital Security / Tenant Organizing / #MeToo Hong Kong

This week, we feature three portions.

Lauren Regan of CLDC

art by Ar To
poster by Ar To
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First up, we share a chat with Lauren Regan of the Civil Liberties Defense Center, or CLDC, to chat about safer practices around technology for activists, as well as the “reverse search” warrant used by the NYPD with Google to capture info on antifascists and the Proud Boy attackers last year. More at https://cldc.org. An article about tech security and phones that Bursts references is called “Never Turn Off The Phone” [starts 10m 08s]

Palm Beach Tenants Union

Following this, Withers (a new collective member at The Final Straw) shares a chat with Adam and Amy, two organizers with the Palm Beach Tenants Union out of Florida about their work and the sorts of mutual aid disaster work they’ve done with Hurricane Irma and advocating for and organizing with renters in their communities for dignity in housing. More on the Union at https://pbctu.org and more on how you can get involved in mutual aid up at https://mutualaiddisasterrelief.org. There are a number of donation sites around the region to prepare for this Hurricane season, as well as distribute support to Bahamas that you can find by searching social media for DRASL (Dorian Response Autonomous Supply Line), as mentioned on itsgoingdown.org. [starts at 54m 06s]

#MeToo and Updates from Hong Kong

Finally, you’ll hear a conversation with Enid and Rebecca, who feminist activists in Hong Kong about the current state of protests there. Content warning, that segment deals in part with organizing around sexualized assault by police and by protestors. To hear our prior interview with Ahkok on protests in HK, check our website and see the great articles up at crimethinc. Also, the guests talk about the term 自由閪, or “Freedom Cunt” as a re-appropriation of a misogynist insult by police from the protests. [starts at 1hr 15m 51s]

*Correction to the HK conversation: The full name of the IPCC mentioned in regards to the establishment of an independent police inquiry is called the Independent Police Complaints Council. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam appointed two new committee members to the already existing committee, not independent investigators. However, the IPCC has hired five foreign investigators to participate in examinations, though it must be clarified that the role of the IPCC is observational rather than investigative. The IPCC has no jurisdiction to either call witness nor collect evidence for the independent inquiry called for by citizens.

If you’re listening to the radio version, as usual, we suggest that you check out the podcast version for longer versions of all three chats in this episode as well as Sean Swain’s audio this week. You can hear that at thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org or via various streaming platforms we publish to, such as youtube, soundcloud, stitcher, pandora and so-on.

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There Is No Liberation Until The Borders Are Gone: Bruno from CIMA and Members of IAF Speak

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This week we are super pleased to share an interview that William did a few weeks ago with two members of the Indigenous Anarchist Federation, Bombshell and insurgent e! We got to talk about a lot of topics in this episode, which was recorded on about the year anniversary of the formation of the Indigenous Anarchist Federation. Bombshell and insurgent e talked about their histories as anarchist people, about the formation of this Federation, what true decolonization of anarchism could look like, and about the upcoming Indigenous Anarchist Convergence which is happening from August 16th-18th in Kinlani, Navajo land, occupied Flagstaff AZ, plus many other topics!

William really appreciated getting to connect with Bombshell and e, hearing their words on the topics at hand, and also really appreciated their patience with me as he stumbled thru my sentences with them.

To learn more about them you can follow them on Twitter, where they post active updates, news, and analysis @IAF_FAI
or go to their website iaf-fai.org where they post more in depth articles about Indigenous struggle all around the world.

If you do the Twitter follows, just note that there is an active fake account that is attempting to badmouth and discredit the work of the IAF, and this account has the handle @fai-mujer; their interventions have been confusing to followers of the IAF in the past. To see a full account of this situation, plus of course many more topics that are like not about internet trolls but are about the work, you can visit them at iaf-fai.org! To learn more about the Convergence, to register, and for tips for outsider participation, you can visit taalahooghan.org.

If in listening to this you are curious about whose land you were born on or live on, a fantastic resource for this is native-land.ca which provides a world wide map, insofar as it’s possible, of indigenous lands and the names of their people spanning thousands of miles.

For more great interviews with members of IAF, including words from Bad Salish Girl and Green City:

Rev Left Radio

Coffee With Comrades

A list of recommendations from B and e:

-Do some digging and research to find a bunch of recent authors who have done the work to center Indigenaity and decolonization,

-read the complete works of Cutcha Risling Baldy on Decolonized and Indigenous Feminism,

-Talk to and listen to Indigenous people, do the necessary research to not ask folks to perform unnecessary emotional labor.

Books:

Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano (en Espanol Las Venas Abiertas de América Latina)

Indigenous Peoples History of the United States by Roxane Dunbar-Ortiz

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann

Our History Is The Future by Nick Estes

500 Years of Indigenous Resistance by Gord Hill

Some good podcasts, recommended by William of TFS, from Indigenous folks, while not being politically anarchist identified are good to listen to!

All My Relations by Matika Wilbur and Adrienne Keene

While Indigenous by the NDN Collective

Stay tuned next week for an interview with Kanahus Manuel, a Secwepemc woman fighting a pipeline thru her lands in so called BC!

CIMA Speaks about ICE Raids

But first up Bursts spoke with Bruno Hinojosa Ruiz of the local immigrants advocacy group, CIMA, about the threatened raids by ICE and  CPB, ways for folks to get plugged in wherever they are with defending  their communities and helping those most targeted and strengthening our  bonds. More about CIMA can be found online by searching C I M A W N C on  facebook or at their site cimawnc.org. After the conversation,  Bursts learned that there’s a wiki page that’s compiling ICE offices and companies profiting from Immigrations police and Border Patrol. That  wiki can be found and added to at https://trackingice.com/wiki/Main_Page

Rest In Power, Willem

In related news to the ramping up of ICE repression of people around the so-called US, protests, sit-ins and sabotages of profiteers have been on the rise. Much of this can be tracked by visiting https://itsgoingdown.org/closethecamps/. Of note, in Asheville someone claimed responsibility for damaging an atm owned by PNC and claiming it anonymously on IGD. Also, on Saturday, July 13th, a 69 year old, northwest anarchist named Willem Van Spronsen was gunned down by authorities outside of the North West Detention Center in Tacoma, WA while attempting to destroy buses used by GEO group to transport detainees to and from the center. Van Spronsen was allegedly armed with a rifle and  was attempting to arson the buses when pigs opened fire and ended his life. There’s a statement by a local group focused on shutting down the facility, La Resistencia, up on fedbook and linked in our show notes. We’re sorry to lose you,  comrade and mourn your loss, but are inspired by your motivation.

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Music for this episode:

Affinity by Shining Soul off of We Got This

Look of Pain by Soul Position

Norman Shamas updates on FOSTA and Digital Harm Reduction

Norman Shamas updates on FOSTA and digital harm reduction

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This week, we continue our look at sex, work and the state with guest, Norman Shamas. Norman Shamas is an activist and educator whose work focuses on human-centered information and digital security and privacy. Now, Norman is not a lawyer but shares their insights about the legal situation around FOSTA, or Fighting Online Sex Trafficking Act that passed into law in the U.S. last year and it’s implications for sex workers, for those trying to fight sex trafficking and for people communicating desire without coercion or monetary exchange, folks looking for a hookup. This interview was conducted for our Error451 podcast, an occasional project focusing on digital security and tech from an anarchist perspective, but because of the prescience of Norman’s words, we wanted to share it as an episode for the airwaves. Later in the interview we talk about Norman’s writing a bit, including issues around queer dating apps and how they’ve been used to persecute folks for their sexualities and genders in various parts of the world and how we can pressure app developers and platforms to take the security of their users more seriously.

For the full conversation including links to articles and subjects we talk about, as well as this week’s Sean Swain segment, check out our podcast version available at thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org. Subcribing to our show is free and easy if you have a computer or a smart phone. There are some instructions up at our website under the “podcasting” tab at the top of the page.

Red Umbrella Tech Collective: https://redumbrellatech.com/

Safer Nudes from Coding Rights: https://www.codingrights.org/4/

Hacking // Hustling (incl. a recording of the panel): http://melissagiragrant.com/hackinghustling/

Open Privacy: https://openprivacy.ca/

CWTCH platform and protocol: https://cwtch.im/

Guide on Harm Reduction and WhatsApp: https://blog.witness.org/2018/11/harm-reduction-whatsapp

Denver Prisoner Letter Writing Event

On February 13th, 7PM at Hooked on Colfax in Denver, CO, folks’ll be sharing love and solidarity with political prisoners with letter writing.

There’ll be a presentation from the Anarchist Black Cross with tips for writing a letter and the February birthdays.

The event will be excitedly co-hosted by many local groups including the Denver Anarchist Black Cross, Denver Black and Pink, Denver IWW, Femme Left, and the Denver CryptoParty.

Prisoners Left Cold at Brooklyn MDC

If you’re in New York, there are rolling demo’s at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center where it was discovered that prisoners have been held with limited heat and electricity for days now during this time of record-breaking cold, as reported in the New York Times on February 1st. To keep up on actions around this, one can check out IWOCNYC, the New York City Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee where demo’s are being announced. If you’re concerned for the health and safety of the over 1,000 prisoners at the MDC Federal jail but can’t make it to a demo, the group Sunset Park for a Liberated Future has called for a phone zap. Those wanting to participate can call Warden Herman Quay & Associate Warden David Ortiz at 718-840-4200. You can also call
Nicole McFarland, US Marshall Assistant Chief at 718-840-4200 ext. 41740.

A sample script from Black and Pink NYC reads:

“I’m a resident of NYC and am very concerned about the situation at MDC. People are living in intolerable conditions without heat or hot meals. This is unacceptable and a violation of human rights. I believe this poses serious harm to the health and safety of people at MDC and fails to meet Eighth Amendment standards prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment. What is your action plan to stop this immediately? What do you commit to in ending this suffering of people in your custody?”

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Playlist

Error451 #14: Leap Encryption Access Project on VPNs & Psuedonymity

Leap Encryption Access Project

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This week, we’d like to share a conversation had a little bit ago with Kali Kaneko, from LEAP.  Leap Encryption Access Project, like pEp featured in our prior Error451 interview, is an open-source project meant to ease… access to encryption (and it’s a project).  At a point in the past, LEAP had an interest in shifting paradigm of email but is now focusing mainly on distribution, upkeep, and improvement of it’s VPN service, Bitmask.  Bitmask is partnering with Riseup Black and Calyx (and hopefully other trustworthy projects) to expand access to free, psuedonymized web traffic with ease.

Here’re a few links Kali sent my way for sharing and further investigation:

The song for this episode was “Crashing The System” by ¡Tchkung! from the album Post World Handbook.

 

A Jailhouse Lawyer Speaks About #PrisonStrike 2018

A Jailhouse Lawyer Speaks About #PrisonStrike 2018

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This week, we feature three segments. First, we’ll feature a statement about recent doxing of a number of anti-racists in the Asheville area by far-right keyboard warriors.

After that, we feature an interview with Dee, an anonymous incarcerated organizer affiliated with Jailhouse Lawyers Speak. In this conversation we ask about the effectiveness of the #August21 2018 Nationwide Prisoner Strike, the push to move prisoners under storm threat as these increase under climate change, repression and changes in response to the strike, mail limitations in PA prisons, standardization of increased security in Ohio, outside support and organizing, critiques of the methods of NPS2018, and more. Check our show notes for links to more info concerning the strike.

If prisoners want to communicate with and/or join JLS, Dee suggests in some words near the end of the show that they reach out to:

Jailhouse Lawyers Speak
P.O. Box 1076
Knightdale, NC 27545

And you can find JLS on fedbook or twitter to keep up with their organizing

Hambach Forest Updates

In our final section of the show, you’ll hear a report by audio comrades in Germany about the recent resistance to the destruction of the Hambach Forest by authorities. The clearing of the ancient forest is to create the largest open-pit lignite coal mine in Europe on behalf of the corporation RWE, which sells to Netherlands, Germany & the UK. Lignite has a carbon content of around 60-70%, has a low energy yield, and is responsible for 1/3 of CO2 emissions in Germany. This segment shows up in the November 2018 episode of B(A)DNews, Angry Voices from Around The World from the A-Radio Network, of which we’re a proud member. Keep an eye on our podcast stream and website for a link to this episode coming out in the next couple of days.

Local Doxxings

Within the last week, over 15 people were doxxed by white supremacists in our community. Here is most of a collective statement released a day or two after the fact by some of those folks:

They’ve targeted more than twenty people they believe are involved in anti-racist organizing in North Carolina. They’ve posted information such as our home addresses, places of work, family members, license plates, social media profiles–whatever information they could find. They seem to be fixating on trans and nonbinary people in particular, and delight in trying to deadname and misgender us whenever possible. Some of us, and some of our family members, have received harassing messages.

They wrote about us like it’s some big secret that we oppose fascism, that we oppose racism, that we oppose all forms of bigotry and oppression. It’s not a secret. We weren’t hiding. We are not ashamed.

This isn’t a plea for sympathy. Our friends and immediate community have been amazing. Rather, this is a message to let you know that if you ever find yourself targeted by neo-Nazis and the far right, you are not alone. None of us need to face this rising tide of fascist scum alone. We have each other.

Robert Bowers, the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooter, actively and publicly chatted with alt-right trolls who had doxxed anti-racist activists. He even discussed violence against anti-racists in our region. This is probably a good time to think seriously about your online security and that of your family members and friends. But staying safe isn’t just a matter of changing your Facebook settings or making your Instagram private. It’s a matter of us showing up for each other. Of us not letting them intimidate us, not letting them isolate us. Not letting them stop us from our work. Especially when the work is stopping fascism.

To read the full statement, you can visit https://ashevillesolidarity.tumblr.com/ , where you can also see a list of bands and businesses which have been included in the current harassment. And of course, there are ways to donate and send support!

For an article about this (released just as our radio show was airing), including a statement by Firestorm Books contextualizing the specific harassment they’ve received, you can visit The Asheville Blade, which you can donate to here! To support Firestorm Books, our local anarchist community space and bookstore, you can join their Community Sustainer’s Program or leave them a positive review on Facebook, Yelp, wherever you can.

Additionally, for a really excellent walk through of how to help prevent this kind of thing happening to you or your crew, you can visit the Smiling Face Collective guide to preventing doxxing. This site can be easily adapted into an interactive workshop, because let’s face it, wiping your presence off the internet is a tedious, upsetting, and grueling process which is designed to wear you down. It’s always better to do this in groups! You can write to us about your experiences with internet hygiene, good, bad, or whatever, at tfsradioshow@protonmail.com

Rural Organizing Against Racism Benefit

For those in the Western NC area, there will be a Fall Fundraiser to benefit rural organizing and resilience on Friday November 30th at 6pm at the Marshall Container Co. which is located at 10 South Main Street, Marshall, NC. The event will center around a cornbread and chili dinner and will include several surprise musical guests!

Support Anti-Fascist Protestors in Philly

And finally, if you are in the position to donate to those injured yesterday fighting the Proud Boys in Philly and elsewhere, you can go to this rally.org page. Remember that if you donate to do so anonymously!

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Playlist here.

Error451: #12 (Efail w/ Micah Lee)

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This week, Bursts spoke with Micah Lee.  Micah is, according to his bio at The Intercept: ”

a computer security engineer and an open source software developer. He writes about technical topics like digital and operational security, encryption tools, whistleblowing, and hacking using language that everyone can understand, but without dumbing it down. An avid user of Qubes and Linux, he develops security tools such as OnionShare.”

Micah is kind enough in this conversation to break down the Efail scandal that rocked security-minded folks in mid-May.  A weakness in the way that many email clients handled PGP & S/MIME came to light months after it was discovered by a team of security investigators.  Micah explains how this encryption works, what was found out, safer approaches to encrypted messaging. We also talk a little about threat modeling and quantum computing.

Send encrypted text messages to Micah using Signal Messenger at (415) 964-1601.  Here’s a link to a cool article Micah published at The Intercept about a method of cheaply creating a second signal account, so you can give out a signal # without giving away your personal phone number.

Check out past episodes of Error451 and hit us up if you have ideas for segments or guests you’d like to hear from.  Check out our contact page!

featured track: “I Did It For The Kids But They’re Gonna PAY” by Spook Rat.

Post-Scarcity, Privilege and Walking Away: A Chat with Cory Doctorow

Walkaway by Cory Doctorow
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Cory Doctorow on Post-Scarcity & Sci-Fi

This week, we present an interview that Bursts conducted with the sci-fi and picture book author, technologist and social critic Cory DoctorowCory is an editor of the blog BoingBoing, a fellow at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and his most recent book is entitled Walkaway, out from Head of Zeus and TOR books.  The novel plays with themes of open source technologies, class society, post-scarcity economics, ecological remediation, drop-out culture and liberatory social models. It was released a few days ago in paperback, along with matching re-issues of his other adult sci-fi novels.

For the hour, they chat about themes from the book, sharing, trans-humanism, imagination and monsters.  To find more work by Cory, check out his blog craphound.com.  You can also find him on twitter, free writings on Project Gutenberg, his content on archive.org, or his podcast.

Due to technical difficulties, we have no Sean Swain segment this week.  We hope this will be remedied next episode.

For a slightly longer version of this episode, make sure to check out the podcast version.

Stay tuned mid-week for a podcast special interview with an anarchist from Indonesia about May Day in Yogyakarta and the repression that has followed.  Also, if you haven’t been checking our podcast feed, you’re missing out.  We have been regularly releasing extra content mid-week including our 8th Anniversary episode with interviews of hosts of two Channel Zero Network podcasts.  You’ll also find two episodes of #Error451, our sometimes-weekly tech security podcast from an anarchist perspective.

Announcements

If you’re in Asheville this week, consider attending the Another Carolina Anarchist Bookfair benefit show at the Odditorium on Haywood Road on the West Side. The show starts at 9pm, it features the music of Kortriba, Mother Marrow, Lynathrope and a special battle set of the project Fatal Comfort versus the stylings of FUNK JAMz. If you visit the ACAB table, you could be one of the first one of your friends to grab an ACAB2018 poster hot off the presses or ACAB2018 tshirt, both designed by super awesome local artists. Proceeds from the entry, shirts and posters go to pay for the local anarchist bookfair taking place between June 21st and 24th. More info on the bookfair at acab2018.noblogs.org

Also, this Friday Blue Ridge Anarchist Black Cross will be hosting it’s monthly presentation of the short documentary series, TROUBLE, by sub.Media. This month we’ll watch the second episode of two on the topic of gentrification and resistance to it. The film will be 30 minutes and then followed by a discussion with prompt questions suited to the Asheville’s specific brand of problems. The show starts at 6:30 and will last roughly an hour. Invite your friends!

playlist

NSA leaks and computer security

nsa_leak
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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://optin.stopwatching.us/?r=eff : a petition site set up in response to the NSA spying revelations.

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.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/the-nsa-files : Check out the ever-growing and increasingly embarassing (for the U.S. security apparatus, that is) scandal from the paper that’s releasing Snowden’s reports.

http://hackmeet.org/ : A project created to facilitate the spreading of hacker awareness and skills on the (post)left coast.

http://zinelibrary.info/files/savethecellphonesforthesnitches.pdf : “London Calling: a cellphone and internet security primer for the criminally-minded anarchist” is quite a good read, explaining some of the case histories that are the bases for our knowledge of surveillance and safer operations.

http://www.enigmail.net/ : is one of the better and more accessible pgp (pretty good protection) email interfaces. Works great with Mozilla Thunderbird email.

https://www.noblogs.org This italian-based blog-hoster for political websites. They host OUR archives @ https://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org