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‘Anonymous’ Doxxes Nazi Politician David Duke

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

 

During former Imperial Wizard of the KKK David Duke’s recent appearance on Vice News Tonight‘s Charlottesville episode, he tried to explain the “oppression” he was experiencing as a white supremacist. In response, the cyber-hacking group Anonymous has taken matters into its own hands and doxxed Duke, releasing all of his personal information for the world to see.

“Doxxing” is the vigilante practice of finding out one’s personal information and releasing it on the internet. Typically, this has been a tactic used by so-called men’s rights activists to torment feminists online. However, following the events of Charlottesville, Virginia, people began to spread the faces of white nationalists and supremacists alike online with the intent to reveal their identities and workplaces. Some attendees of the “Unite the Right” rally have since been fired from their jobs or forced to resign.

Former KKK leader Duke is known as a white supremacist, Holocaust denier, anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist, and concerningly, a politician. Duke ran for president thrice, and for the Senate countless times, in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. Though many runs were unsuccessful, Duke did serve as a Louisiana state representative. He was also a founder and prominent user of the online bulletin board StormFront, a platform known for promoting white nationalism, white supremacism, neo-Nazism and hate speech. StormFront is considered the predecessor of the Daily Stormer, the neo-Nazi publication recently booted off its U.S. domain for its role in Charlottesville.

Along with Duke’s information, Anonymous released the email addresses, phone numbers, physical addresses and birth dates of Duke’s ex-wife and two daughters.

Jennie Neufeld is a junior writing fellow at AlterNet. She has previously worked for the Observer, the Wild and Nylon Magazine. Follow her on twitter @jennieneufeld

 

Trump Lawyers Sue Greenpeace Over Dakota Access Pipeline

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

Still reeling from a D.C. district court loss in June, Energy Transfer Partners, the owner of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), has sued Greenpeace and other environmental groups in a $300 million racketeering case, accusing them of inciting terrorism, fraud and defamation and violating state and federal RICO laws.

On Tuesday, ETP released a statement alleging that Greenpeace, BankTrack and Earth First “manufactured and disseminated materially false and misleading information about Energy Transfer and the Dakota Access Pipeline for the purpose of fraudulently inducing donations, interfering with pipeline construction activities and damaging Energy Transfer’s critical business and financial relationships.”

In its 187-page complaint, ETP alleges that “putative not-for-profits and rogue eco-terrorist groups who employ patterns of criminal activity and campaigns of misinformation to target legitimate companies and industries with fabricated environmental claims and other purported misconduct” caused the Fortune 500 natural gas company to lose “billions of dollars.”

The Dallas-based firm made other outrageous claims against the groups, including funding terrorism and “using donations to fund a lucrative drug trafficking scheme inside the camps.

ETP is represented by the law firm Kasowitz, Benson & Torres LLP. Partner Marc Kasowitz is a member of the legal team representing the president in the ongoing congressional and special counsel investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russian state actors.

This is the second consecutive year Trump’s attorneys have filed a lawsuit against Greenpeace. In 2016, Resolute Forest Products, a paper and pulp company based in Montreal that was stripping grounds in Northern Ontario and Quebec, filed a suit against the group for defamation and threatening its customers.

Responding to Tuesday’s ETP filing, Greenpeace attorney Tom Wetterer said Trump’s lawyers are “apparently trying to market themselves as corporate mercenaries willing to abuse the legal system to silence legitimate advocacy work.” He added:

This complaint repackages spurious allegations and legal claims made against Greenpeace by the Kasowitz firm on behalf of Resolute Forest Products in a lawsuit filed in May 2016. It is yet another classic “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation” (SLAPP), not designed to seek justice, but to silence free speech through expensive, time-consuming litigation. This has now become a pattern of harassment by corporate bullies, with Trump’s attorneys leading the way.

The Dakota Access Pipeline has been a source of contention since 2014, when ETP applied for a 1,200-mile land grant to build in North and South Dakota on the Standing Rock Reservation, the sixth largest Native American reservation in the U.S. in terms of land area. The reservation encompasses the Black Hills, sacred land for the Sioux, who argue that the pipeline would not only damage their sacred sites, but would threaten the Missouri River, their only water supply.

When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted the pipeline permit, thousands flocked to the convergence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers to peacefully protest the construction, establishing the Standing Rock encampment in April 2016.

Happy American Horse, a water protector and member of the Sicangu Nation, locked himself to construction equipment in a direct action against the Dakota Access Pipeline in August 2016. (credit: Desiree Kane/Wikipedia)

However, demonstrations turned violent as heavily armed police, SWAT teams and unlicensed security personnel launched military-style assaults, using tear gas, concussion grenades, rubber bullets and water cannons against the unarmed water protectors.

Police and water protectors face off at Standing Rock. (credit: Rob Wilson Photography/Facebook)

Just four days after taking office in January, President Trump overturned President Obama’s early December decision to halt DAPL construction. By mid-February, aggressive force by officials pushed the water protectors off the land, effectively shutting down the Standing Rock encampment.

Beyond the fact that his own lawyers are building ETP’s case against Greenpeace, Trump has a vested interest in the pipeline’s completion, having invested up to $1 million in ETP, according to disclosure forms related to the 2016 presidential campaign.

ETF’s CEO Kelcy Warren donated $100,000 to the Trump Victory Fund.

In September, Desmogblog reported that Harold Hamm, energy adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign and CEO of Continental Resources, a fossil fuel exploration and production company, told investors he would ship oil through the Dakota Access line.

President Trump signed a presidential memoranda to advance the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines on January 24, 2017. (Office of the President of the United States/Wikipedia)

The Standing Rock/DAPL battle continued in the legal system until June 14, when D.C. district court judge James Boasberg declared the Army Corps of Engineers study of “the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice” deficient. He ordered a new study to be conducted and a case on both sides presented.

While considered a major victory for the Standing Rock Sioux and environmentalists, the ruling did not halt construction. In fact, there have been three leaks since Trump’s order that the pipeline be completed. Anti-pipeline activists are pushing Judge Boasberg to shut down the operation during the environmental review, which can take between one and three years to complete. His decision may come as soon as next month.

ETP’s lawsuit is part of an effort to brand the activists as terrorists. To counter the Standing Rock protesters, the company hired TigerSwan, a group founded by retired members of a U.S. military counterterrorism unit, Delta Force. It was later revealed in private documents acquired by the Intercept that TigerSwan had likened the demonstrators to “jihadists” and the movement “an ideologically driven insurgency with a strong religious component.”

In an interview last week with CounterSpin, Kandi Mosset, an organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network, said “we have to really focus on placing the blame where it squarely belongs, which is on the industry and the corporations.”

Mosset has faith that despite small setbacks, “Hope is alive. They’ll never, ever, ever take our hope from us, and that’s the most important and powerful thing that came out of Standing Rock,” she said. “That fire that burned that whole time is still burning in all of our hearts, and it will continue to do so until we win.”

Who’s terrorizing whom? Watch this video and decide for yourself:

Jennie Neufeld is a junior writing fellow at AlterNet. She has previously worked for the Observer, the Wild and Nylon Magazine. Follow her on twitter @jennieneufeld.

Organizers Catch Credit Card Companies Profiting From White Supremacy

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

 

If white supremacist groups across the country thrive on donations and profitable merchandise, who is allowing it to happen and how? A new tracker called “Blood Money,” from the non-profit group Color of Change, has found an essential component of the funding of hatred seen in Charlottesville—the credit card companies and online payment processors that authorize these transactions.

In Fast Company’s recent profile of Color of Change, Blood Money found that Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express are complicit in “processing funds for over 100 hate groups.”

Blood Money, Color of Change, as of August 22, 2017.

As Color of Change notes, these groups include those “responsible for numerous hate crimes, murders, and radicalization of terrorists such as Dylann Roof, Timothy McVeigh, Wade Michael Page and Anders Behring Breivik.”

This allowance has led to outrageous profit—roughly 20 of the most prominent hate groups have raised more than $20 million in sales, grants and contributions. Lesser-known groups that don’t receive massive contributions find income by soliciting on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and through the sale of racist music and merchandise on inconspicuous websites. Sometimes this merchandise is sold on Amazon.

These companies essentially enable the white supremacist groups, giving them the opportunity to hire staff, arm militias, travel to militant rallies, and create radical content.

As hate groups “publicly share their agenda and terrorize those who disagree,” they conjunctively “encourage others who are equally radical to give more,” according to Fast Company’s interview with Color of Change executive director Rashad Robinson.

“Each time they do something like they did in Charlotte[sville], they are seeing a lot of publicity, a lot of visibility, and they’ve got a direct line to people who might be sympathetic or supportive to move resources to them,” said Robinson.

What’s most concerning is not the sponsorship, but the “blood money” these companies receive. For every transaction or donation, “these companies take anywhere from 1.4 percent to 3.5 percent of the money for themselves,” according to the Color of Change program. “These companies are not just helping white supremacist groups to raise tens of millions of dollars—they are also profiting off this hate.”

Though Color of Change can’t calculate exactly how much money each hate group is raising and how much companies are earning, the Blood Money tracker highlights which card companies and online payment processors white supremacist hate groups are using to fund their activities. The tracker shows which hate groups are allowed to use Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, PayPal, ApplePay and Amazon. Red dollar signs signify active relationships and green checkmarks note which groups have been blocked.

Though there are a number of groups that have been partially or fully blocked, the visual representation of the many ways hate groups receive funding is overwhelming.

What is frustrating for the organization is the response toward other terrorist organizations. According to Fast Company, payment processors actively work toward halting service for international terrorist organizations. In 2010, Visa and MasterCard also attempted to suspend payments to WikiLeaks, according to the Associated Press. Companies that did not comply such as PayPal and Swiss bank PostFinance received an influx of cyberattacks through junk web traffic that temporarily took down both sites, according to Forbes. Even Venmo suspended a user who purchased a T-shirt for Isis (the band), mistaking the show of musical appreciation for support for the terrorist group. Yet the designation of terrorists not worthy of transactional support seems to stop when it comes to domestic hate groups.

Color of Change has created the tracker to raise awareness and bring an end to this practice. It first began urging companies in February, but none of the companies agreed. After a member of the Facebook group Alt-Reich killed Richard Collins III in May, Color of Change began work on the program, which it unveiled to the processors a month in advance as a tool of encouragement (as well as a threat of public humiliation). However, they were once again met with little response.

Following Charlottesville, Color of Change notified the offending companies that it was finally time to reveal to the public what was going on.

In response to the tracker, which went live August 16, some companies are beginning to cut ties. ApplePay and PayPal, whose relations with these groups are “sporadic,” immediately began to suspend service to the offenders, according to Fast Company. Robinson told Fast Company that Discover claims it will do the same.

Color of Change has been the force behind changing many company practices, urging Airbnb to stop the service’s discrimination against black people and simultaneously blocking white supremacists traveling to Charlottesville from using the home sharing service. Airbnb confirmed which “Unite the Right” rally-goers were using its service and banned them. The organization also worked with Soundcloud to delete bigoted podcasts, according to Fast Company.

Alongside the tracking program, Color of Change encourages readers to sign its petition, which reminds companies that these groups have “played a major role in the recent and rapid rise in anti-black, anti-Jewish and anti-LGBTQ hate crimes in the last year and a half… By profiting from donations to hate groups you are directly enabling the rising violence and vitriol directed at marginalized communities.”

If little changes, Color of Change will move toward a campaign asking petitioners to “take collective actions, like calling top executives, sharing a new social media campaign, or funding billboards to increase public awareness.”

“We know companies can shift to make more proactive stances,” said Robinson. “But you’ve got to work and push to change the culture and force them to see it as part of what they value.”

Jennie Neufeld is a junior writing fellow at AlterNet. She has previously worked for the Observer, the Wild and Nylon Magazine. Follow her on twitter @jennieneufeld

 

Across The Country, Bills Immunize Drivers Who Injure Protesters

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

With all eyes on the tragedies of Charlottesville, many say this is not the America they recognize. However, legalized violence is nothing new, chiefly in the form of police brutality and the immunity offered to those who retaliate against protesters. Though lawmakers are objecting to the car-plowing incident in Virginia that killed activist Heather Heyer, Republican representatives across the country have introduced a slew of bills granting immunity to drivers who injure protesters, exhibiting lawmakers’ disregard for freedom of speech and freedom to organize.

1. North Carolina votes to protect drivers who collide with protesters.

In April 2017, the North Carolina House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation that would not hold drivers who collided with protesters liable as long as they “exercise due care.” After chaotic protests blocked interstate roadways in response to the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by Charlotte police, the bill’s sponsor, Republican Representative Justin Burr, said, “This bill does not allow for the driver of a vehicle to target protesters intentionally… It does protect individuals who are rightfully trying to drive down the road.”

Though GOP lawmakers insist otherwise, Democratic Rep. Mickey Michaux said the law is racially motivated, given that people of color demonstrate most. “It would give some folks the idea” to intentionally run over minorities, he says. “Who demonstrates more than people of color?”

2. Texas pinpoints demonstrators in bill immunizing drivers.

Like North Carolina lawmakers, Rep. Pat Fallon of Texas directly pinpointedprotesters in his bill, stating that drivers who injure another person while “exercising due care” are not liable if the person injured is “participating in a protest or demonstration.” This contrasts with previously peaceful relations between demonstrators and Dallas police, who worked together in blocking off streets and clearing paths, even during rush-hour protests. This symbiotic relationship came to a halt during a deadly ambush of Dallas police during anti-police brutality protests in 2016. (This legislation comes from the same state that proposed the all-but-dead “bathroom bills” that restricted transgender people’s access to public and school bathrooms.)

3. Motorcyclist directly threatens Florida protesters; lawmakers seek to protect him.

When a “visibly angry” motorcyclist began threatening and knocking down protesters to evade a demonstration blockade, lawmakers continued the trend of protecting those who “exercise due care,” as long as the injury was unintentional. But this proposal made no clear plan to define what was intentional versus accidental, implying that most collisions would be inadvertent.

“Driving is a privilege. Speech is a right,” said Paul Ortiz, a UF history professor who was participating in the march. “Your right as a driver is not protected by the U.S. Constitution. Your First Amendment right to speech is.”

4. Nashville seeks to protect murderer.

When several demonstrators ended up on the hood of an SUV in Nashville protests of the immigration ban, lawmakers proposed a similar bill. The legislation placed blame on the victims who were pushed nearly 100 feet to a gas station, rather than the driver.

5. North Dakota proposes bill to restrict rights and safety of pipeline demonstrators.

The bill, proposed in early January, was written in response to protests at Standing Rock reservation in Canon Ball, North Dakota. “If you stay off the roadway, this would never be an issue,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Keith Kempenich. “Those motorists are going about the lawful, legal exercise of their right to drive down the road. … Those people didn’t ask to be in this.” According to Kempenich, the protesters “made a conscious decision to put themselves in harm’s way.” Even before the bill was proposed, Dakota Access Pipeline protesters were facing excessive force from police in the form of tear gas and rubber bullets.

Jennie Neufeld is a junior writing fellow at AlterNet. She has previously worked for the Observer, the Wild and Nylon Magazine. Follow her on twitter @jennieneufeld.

Why Does Trump Want To Make Appalachians’ Lives Worse?

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

First came deindustrialization and mass unemployment, then the opioid crisis. Now a new report from HealthAffairs reveals that infant mortality rates in Appalachia dwarf those in the rest of the country. Life expectancies are considerably shorter as well.

Looking at an array of data, the study finds that infant mortality was as much 16 percent higher in Appalachia, while life expectancies had dropped by as much as 2.4 years between 1990 and 2013. Poor black men from the region are expected to live 13 years less than white women from low-poverty areas elsewhere in the United States.

“What was surprising was that in the early 1990s, there wasn’t a great deal of difference in infant mortality and life expectancy,” a co-author of the study told the Washington Post. But while these trends have stabilized across the country, “the improvements have not been as rapid in Appalachia.”

The study underscores a broader American crisis, as comparatively lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality rates are not contained to Appalachia. The United States still ranks well below other developed nations, according to a study by the Commonwealth Fund.

The Appalachian region stretches across 13 states, from Mississippi to New York. Over the past 30 years, it has been decimated by the demise of the coal industry, a trend Donald Trump vowed to reverse if he were elected president. Instead, he has put forth a budget proposal that would eliminate programs that support unemployed coal miners and people from other struggling industries in Appalachia.

Jennie Neufeld is a junior writing fellow at AlterNet. She has previously worked for the Observer, the Wild and Nylon Magazine. Follow her on twitter @jennieneufeld.

More Than Half Of Republicans Would Support Postponing The 2020 Election: Poll

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

 

Despite the president’s record-low approval ratings, a majority of Republicans say they would be willing to postpone the 2020 election if Trump were to propose such a plan. According to the poll conducted by two academic authors and published in the Washington Post, 52 percent support the idea.

The pollsters also found that 47 percent of Republicans believe Trump won the popular vote, while 86 percent believe that millions of illegal immigrants took part in the election. Seventy-three percent think voter fraud happens somewhat often to very often.

Since winning the 2016 election, Trump has insisted that he did, in fact, win the popular vote, “if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally”—a claim that has been repeatedly debunked.

The poll surveyed 1,325 Americans, with a focus on the 650 participants who identified as Republican in some shape or form. The sample was “weighted to match the population in terms of sex, age, race and education.” Those who believed the previous election was influenced by voter fraud were more inclined to support the postponement of future elections.

If nothing else, these findings prove the tendencies of the Republican Party are as authoritarian as Trump’s.

Jennie Neufeld is a junior writing fellow at AlterNet. She has previously worked for the Observer, the Wild and Nylon Magazine. Follow her on twitter @jennieneufeld.