All posts by lisa

Chelsea Manning Needs Legal Funds to Resist a Grand Jury Subpoena

Updated: March 7, 2019

Donate to her legal fund here. Statement from the Chelsea Resists Support Committee: “Leave Chelsea Alone”

 

See list of References below that will be up to date soon and updated every morning, as we get more information.

Updated statement from her support team on March 5, 2019:


Hello Friends :-)

We need to help our friend Chelsea again, as she needs legal funds in order to resist a Grand Jury Subpoena that she has been served with.

From the Chelsea Resists Legal Fund web page:

Chelsea Manning has been summoned to appear and give testimony before a federal grand jury. The grand jury is related to her 2010 disclosures of information about the nature of asymmetric warfare to the public.

Following in the footsteps of scores of other activists, Chelsea refused to testify in front of the grand jury, and is currently incarcerated for civil attempt. She may be held until she “purges”- which she won’t- or until the grand jury is released.

Chelsea risked so much for public good, and has been through a lot of hardship. Let’s show her solidarity together and let the State know their punitive harassment won’t be tolerated.

What are grand juries?

Grand juries are used to establish “probable cause” that a felony offense has been committed. Prosecutors run the proceedings behind closed doors, without a judge or defense attorney present. Basically, the whole process is rigged to favor indictment of the individual accused of a crime. They have also been used historically to oppress and frighten targeted groups, in particular, people perceived as dissidents and activists.

Why Resist a grand jury?

Due to their secretive nature and limitless subpoena power, the government has utilized grand jury processes as tools for garnering information about movements by questioning witnesses behind closed doors. Since testimony before grand juries is secret, grand juries can create fear by suggesting that some members of a political community may be secretly cooperating with the government. In this way, grand juries can seed suspicion and fear in activist communities.

What will funds go toward specifically?

We will need legal funds for Chelsea’s legal fees, and legal costs such as court transcripts and travel, and commissary.

If Chelsea does not end up needing these funds they will go to other radical projects of our choosing.

Thank you for your support!

References:

  1. Chelsea Manning Fights Subpoena — Showing How Federal Grand Juries Are Unaccountable Tools of Repression – March 2, 2019 – by Natasha Lennard for The Intercept. https://theintercept.com/2019/03/02/chelsea-manning-subpoena-grand-jury/

2. Questions regarding Chelsea Manning’s support committee should be directed to ChelseaResists@protonmail.com

3. Chelsea Manning is represented by Moira Meltzer-Cohen, appellate attorney Vincent Ward, and local counsel Chris Leibig and Sandra Freeman.

Meet Visual Artist Projekt Seahorse – Performing at Raw Thought This Friday, March 8th

Projekt Seahorse will be performing at the next Raw Thought at the DNA Lounge from 9pm-2am on March 8th!

Dance, play with robots, watch a beautiful shamanic dancer perform (Lael Marie) or just chill in artist Grumpy Green’s super special Psychedelic Chill Room (an immersive art installation).

DJs include: Melotronix, Tha Spyryt, Ailz, & Cain MacWitish – with visuals by Projekt Seahorse and shamanic dance by Lael Marie – all at our March 8th Raw Thought at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco! TICKETS

A Conversation with Projekt Seahorse a.k.a. Aaron Moun10

by Lisa Rein for Mondo 2000.

Projekt Seahorse will be performing with shamanic dancer Lael Marie for the first time on March 8th!

Watch a highlight clip of Projekt Seahorse performing with Raw Thought DJ Tha Spyryt.

The Edirol V-4

Projekt Seahorse a.k.a. Aaron Moun10 is known for his analog mixed-media art, which he performs live in real time. We interviewed him about his techniques and process in creating his real time masterpieces.

Lisa Rein: So how do you make your visuals? Is everything analog? Are there any digital components? How does it work?

Projekt Seahorse: I’m like a live band. I’m running everything from 4-6 different VHS players and two DVD players and two laptops, all into a video mixer, and then I’m sequencing all of it live.

LR: So your using that old video mixer?

PS: Yes I’m mixing it all live to the energy of whatever music artist I’m working with.

LR: So it’s still analog mixing then, when you are using that video mixing board?

PS: Yes. Analog mixing in real time….

Shamanic Dancer Lael Marie dances while Projekt Seahorse projects his analog video performance art. (Click to see a short video :)

LR: So Lael Marie will be performing with you for the first time at our Raw Thought show on March 11. I’ve seen you guys perform together during a practice session and she’s absolutely amazing; and the two of you together are quite impressive. How did you ever find her?

PS: We met at a party and she’s always looking for new progressive projects and events where she can dance, so I told her about Raw Thought.

LR: Yes she mentioned she was always looking for interesting collaborations, and said this was a dream come true for her, as she had been looking for a projectionist to collaborate with for a while. (I’ll have an interview with her up later this week!)

PS: Werd.

The (last couple) Weeks In Aaron Swartz Day-Land-January 23 2019

Here are the last few weeks of links to catch you up on recent developments in Aaron Swartz Day-land:

1) Aaron’s PACER Project Explained – A clip from Brian Knappenberger’s The Internet’s Own Boy (completely transcribed), which explains the details behind Aaron’s famous PACER Project. We once thought this was the first thing to put Aaron on the FBI’s radar, but now we know that he was scooped up in an FBI phishing expedition as far back as 2007. (Thanks to a lawsuit by Property of the People  – see #3 of this list.)

Barrett Brown and Aaron Swartz Exchanged Emails and worked on a FOIA project together

2) Aaron Collaborated with Barrett Brown on “Persona Management” FOIA Request – Aaron filed a FOIA request – and received a document back from it – in 2011. Read the full story.

 

3) “Property of the People” Lawsuit Proves Aaron Was Scooped Up In An FBI Investigation Back In 2007 – Aaron had been erroneously swept up in a 2007 terrorist investigation that, most likely, caused law enforcement agencies (FBI, DOJ) to treat him with rougher hands during its subsequent encounters with him afterwards.

4) A few words with Mochipet, who performed at Raw Thought On January 11th at the DNA LoungeA Tale Of Modular Synthesizers – Another Open Source Success Story – Mochipet is a modular synthesizer aficionado and he explains how the German company Doepfer’s decision to make their specs open has led to a flourishing of musical culture that would otherwise have been impossible.

5) Just announced! Raw Thought @DNA Lounge for March 8th! TICKETS – FOIA & ASD PSP Raw Thought Salon from 7-9pm – music starts at 9 :)

To be clear: It’s two events in one – if you get there early enough (between 7-8:30pm) to learn about Police Surveillance and filing public records requests, great! If not, no biggie, just grab a drink and join the party.

Come to Raw Thought on March 8th (from 9pm-2am) & see Grumpy Green‘s super special Psychedelic Chill Room (an immersive space for both dancing & chilling).

DJs include: Melotronix, Tha Spyryt, Ailz, & Cain MacWitish – with visuals by Projekt Seahorse – all at our March 8th Raw Thought at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco!       TICKETS

 

 

It’s the Sixth Anniversary of the death of our friend, Aaron Swartz

For the first time ever, we are having an event on this day, January 11, 2019 – and providing a little Q & A session to help explain things to our community.

Remembering our friend and letting him inspire us makes us stronger and more determined than ever to help people all over the world.

The Q & A session over vegan pizza will begin around 7:30pm. Ryan Shapiro, of Property of the People will be our special guest. (Property of the People has a FOIA Lawsuit against the Federal Government in an attempt access more of Aaron’s FBI file.)

Raw Thought” – a musical artistic thought-provoking combination of DJs (Mochipet w a live drummer, Tha Spyryt, Ozlo Glowing and Cain MacWitish), visuals on many screens by Projekt Seahorse, an immersive art installation by Grumpy Green, historical collages by the Swartz-Manning VR Museum Team, and a Psychedelic Chill room. The fun starts before 10 sometime and goes till 2am.

We hope to see you tonight!

And now, please read more about Mochipet and his love of modular synths.  Mochipet will be performing tonight at our Raw Thought event, after the Q & A.

A few words with Mochipet

A Tale Of Modular Synthesizers – Another Open Source Success Story

Mochipet will performed at our Aaron Swartz Day Opening Party – Raw Thought at the DNA Lounge on November 9, 2018.

TICKETS to the next Raw Thought, March 8, 2019

Come to Raw Thought on March 8th (from 9pm-2am) & see Grumpy Green’s super special Psychedelic Chill Room (an immersive space for both dancing & chilling).

DJs include: Melotronix, Tha Spyryt, Ailz, & Cain MacWitish – with visuals by Projekt Seahorse – all at our March 8th Raw Thought at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco! TICKETS

 

All pics below of Mochipet and kitties link to Mochipet songs :-)

 

Lisa Rein: So you mentioned that you’ve been feeling very experimental lately, and I saw on your instagram that you’ve been messing with a lot of new equipment.

Mochipet: I always do that.

LR: Well what are you playing with recently?

Mochipet: I’m doing a lot of modular synth stuff. I’ll probably be doing some modular synth stuff on Friday.

LR: Is that just a type of synthesizer? What’s “modular synth” exactly?

@mordaxsystems @makenoisemusic @xoacdevices @ieaskulfmobenthey #modularsynth #eurorack #modular #makenoise #makenoisemaths #ieaskulfmobenthey #ifmswoop #mordaxdata #xoacdevices #xaocbatumi

Mochipet: Modular synth is basically kind of like a synthesizer, with a bunch of parts. You can take separate parts and make a frankenstein thing of whatever you want.

It’s like if you had the ability to take the EQ off of one synthesizer, and then took the amp of another synthesizer, and then put them all together. All the pieces are modular. They’re separate. So you can put them all together and make a brand new thing.

LR: So it allows you to customize your sound?

Mochipet: Yes it’s very customized because everybody can put things together in a very different ways. It’s kind of like LEGOs I guess. That’s a great analogy: yes just like LEGOs. It’s just parts.

LR: Do the parts have to be a certain brand?

Made my first spaghetti 🍝 party last night. I need more cables. #mochipet #inthestudio #modularsynth #eurorack

Mochipet: No. There are many brands of modules. That’s the cool thing about it is that it’s a very decentralized system. So, basically, there’s a standard.

It’s kind of like the Internet: If people follow the standard their pages will work in a browser. This is kind of like that with modular synths. They all have a certain voltage. They all have a certain voltage range, for notes, and things like that.

There’s kind of a standard that this German company Doepfer made that other people just adopted. So there’s a lot of really small operations, individual people, making modules.

Doepfer made their specs open. There’s a lot of standards now where I think people realize if you make them open then you’re gonna get a lot more use out of it. If it was a closed system, nobody would use it. It would be useless. You need open systems in order for people to be able to participate,, and that really opens the door up for a lot of individuals to do really unique things. Because everybody thinks differently.

Rather than having a big bureaucratic company with standards and rules dictating whatever their idea of what the industry should be like. There’s none of that. Instead, it’s just random people making different things. But they all work together. So you can connect anything to anything and it will work, and you can make unique things out of it that nobody could ever make before.

LR: So that’s what those contraptions are that we see in your photographs?

Mochipet: Yeah yeah. It’s a really cool thing. It’s kind of new. Doepfer came out with it many years ago, but the whole modular synth “scene” kind of thing is pretty new. I mean like five or ten years old. People are doing it just because they love it. They are making really interesting instruments and they like coming up with ideas. Some of these modules, there are only like 50 of them. They’ll make 50. And they’ll sell em, and that’s it.

LR: So some of them are rare and hard to obtain?

Mochipet: Yes. Some of them become rare. Some of them are very hard to find. There’s a lot of them that are made all over the world. There’s this guy in China that makes really cool ones. There’s people in Italy that make really cool modules. There’s this company Make Noise, here in the states that’s very popular. It’s kinda nerdy. It’s kind of like open source programming, but with music. It’s like people can write little programs or functions or whatever and put it into the system. And then people can take it and ya know, do whatever they want with it. Do new things with it.

This one company, Mutable Instruments. They’re in France. All these companies are just like, one guy. There’s like a guy who designs the modules and he tells a guy how many knobs. But it’s just those guys. There’s no team. So he (the guy in France) started doing digital modules, which incorporate computer programming within them. All his stuff is open source too. So, you can take his code and make the module, or add more stuff to it, or change it. There’s an open source community spirit to it, which is really nice.

LR: Does he actually release it under an open source license?

Mochipet: Yes!

LR: (Lisa looks it up online.) Hey cool it’s a Creative Commons: cc-by-sa 3.0 license.

Mochipet at MeowWolf.

“Property of the People” Lawsuit Proves Aaron Was Scooped Up In An FBI Investigation Back In 2007

We will be discussing this lawsuit and the Aaron Swartz Day Police Surveillance Project in general (its templates, latest results from Sacramento & other cities in California) at this month’s Raw Thought Salon on March 8th – from 7-9pm.

Then stay from 9pm-2am to dance and hang out in Grumpy Green’s super special Psychedelic Chill Room (an immersive art installation).

DJs include: Melotronix, Tha Spyryt, Ailz, & Cain MacWitish – with visuals by Projekt Seahorse – March 8th Raw Thought at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco! TICKETS

 

By Lisa Rein

A “Property of the People” Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit has obtained documents proving that Aaron was scooped up in an FBI investigation as far back as 2007, even before the PACER project, in 2008. (Previously we thought the PACER project was the first time the FBI had concerned itself with Aaron.)

Aaron had been erroneously swept up in a 2007 terrorist investigation that, most likely, caused law enforcement agencies (FBI, DOJ) to treat him with rougher hands during its subsequent encounters with him afterwards.

His email was only scooped up because the Feds were probably using National Security Letters (NSLs) to get all of a University Department’s email headers, in bulk, from a computer science department that Aaron had emailed. (More on NSL’s here.) Long story short they enable the FBI to demand information from entities without court approval. (No warrants. No judicial oversight.)

Here’s the article by Dell Cameron for Gizmodo: https://gizmodo.com/fbi-secretly-collected-data-on-aaron-swartz-earlier-tha-1831076900

Highlights from the two documents are displayed below): (1) (2) These documents show the information that the FBI had in its database about Aaron, way back in February of 2007:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This document is from November 4, 2008:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the Article:

How specifically the FBI came to possess Swartz’s email data remains unclear.

But after reviewing the document and other related files, several legal experts told Gizmodo the most likely explanation was that the FBI had used a National Security Letter (NSL), a ubiquitous tool for obtaining email header data at the time. An NSL would have enabled federal agents to demand access to the data and then impose a gag order to maintain secrecy around the investigation, all without a judge’s approval.

Authorized under the Stored Communications Act, in cases of suspected terrorism or espionage, these letters enable the FBI to seize a variety of electronic records under its own authority. While agents cannot use an NSL to acquire the contents of an email message, the FBI’s notes appear to show that, in Swartz’s case, it sought only “email headers,” data the FBI would argue falls well within the scope of its power to seize.

NSL Letters are over reaching, post-911 creations that we’ve all learned a lot about these last few years because Brewster Kahle at the Internet Archive went public with his experience with them, and then he worked with the ACLU and the EFF to challenge NSLs as being unconstitutional. Here’s a great story about it by Richard Koman for ZDNet, where Brewster Kahle offers a cookbook for fighting security letters:

Just talked to Brewster Kahle at the Internet Archive about their successful settlement with the FBI of a lawsuit over a National Security Letter. The FBI had demanded personal information on a user; the Archive replied with a lawsuit challenging the propriety of the NSL.

***

We will be discussing this lawsuit and the Aaron Swartz Day Police Surveillance Project in general (its templates, latest results from Sacramento & other cities in California) at this month’s Raw Thought Salon on March 8th – from 7-9pm.

Then stay from 9pm-2am to dance and hang out in Grumpy Green’s super special Psychedelic Chill Room (an immersive space for both dancing & chilling).

DJs include: Melotronix, Tha Spyryt, Ailz, & Cain MacWitish – with visuals by Projekt Seahorse – all at our March 8th Raw Thought at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco! TICKETS

 

 

Aaron Collaborated with Barrett Brown on “Persona Management” FOIA Request

Learn about all this and more at our Raw Thought Salon on March 8th – from 7-9pm.

Then stay from 9pm-2am to dance and hang out in Grumpy Green’s super special Psychedelic Chill Room (an immersive art installation). DJs include: Melotronix, Tha Spyryt, Ailz, & Cain MacWitish – with visuals by Projekt Seahorse – all at our March 8th Raw Thought at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco! TICKETS

Barrett Brown and Aaron Swartz Exchanged Emails and worked on a FOIA project together

Short version of this story: Barrett Brown and Aaron Swartz filed a FOIA together on “persona management software” and here is the document that came back on that request.

Index of a few highlights of this document:

Page 1 – $2,760,000 bid

Page 3 – Explains what the software does

Page 4 – Explains the VPN and “user traffic mixing”

Page 4 – Explains Static IP Address Management

Page 5 – Explains “Virtual Private Servers”

Page 6 – Explains “Point of Presence Locations” to allow personas to appear to originate from different locations

Page 7 – Explains the “Secure Operating Environment”

Page 8 – Says $2,760,000 again

Detailed version of the story:

As I was preparing Barrett Brown and Trevor Timm’s segment from the Aaron Swartz Day Evening Event for publication, and transcribing some of it, I realized that he and Aaron had actually kinda known each other.

This was amazing to me, as I had asked Barrett to start participating in our last two years of Aaron Swartz Day’s because his projects had felt so on-target with Aaron’s concerns and values, not because I knew that they had ever exchanged emails, much less collaborated at any point.

Barrett himself had basically forgotten about it until recently at the end of his talk with Trevor Timm during last year’s Evening Event. As I was transcribing the talk last week, my ears perked up as Barrett explained their interactions:

“He (Aaron) once offered to do an FOIA request on persona management. One of my interests back then. One of these disinformation propaganda methodologies that have come out of the intelligence contract industries, and had been encouraged by various states. Something that I think is very dangerous. So he offered to do his thing on that. To explore the possibilities and see if we could get some information on it. And the interesting thing about that is that I’d sort of forgotten about it until very recently. I’m not sure where that was left. I’m not sure if he got some results back.”

Aha! The hunt was on – I wanted to find this request and find out what information ever came back for it. I still didn’t know what “persona management” was exactly, but I could guess the outcome – sock puppets. I had always known that sock puppets were very dangerous, from the first day I learned of their existence en mass.

I had been working with Muckrock intensely all week myself, filing dozens of public records requests to numerous police and sheriff departments for the Aaron Swartz Police Surveillance Project. (Which just revamped it’s Muckrock templates, by the way.)

I wrote Barrett an email immediately asking what ever came of it. He said, to his knowledge, it was filed, but he didn’t know if anything was ever sent back on it. He sent me this Project PM link on “Persona Management”:

Persona management on Project PM:

Persona management entails the use of software by which to facilitate the use of multiple fake online personas, or “sockpuppets,” generally for the use of propaganda, disinformation, or as a surveillance method by which to discover details of a human target via social interactions. Various incarnations of this capability have been discovered in the form of patents, U.S. military contracts, and e-mail discussions among intelligence contractors.

My first idea was to go back to the original story by Jason Leopold in Truthout that was published immediately after Aaron’s death. There was a link in it to all of Aaron’s FOIA requests, but it was broken. So I wrote Michael Morisy, founder of Muckrock, and asked him about it. He not only gave me a good link of every FOIA request Aaron Swartz ever filedand what he received back, on Muckrock. But he sent me the exact FOIA request in question, asking about persona management software. As well as the document that came back.

I sent the link to the response to Barrett.

He replied:

“Hey, I believe this is the same RFP that became public in 2011, though I’m not entirely sure. But yes, that’s exactly what it’s used for; social media accounts are the main vector, and as seen by the recent NYT story on the Israeli firm that Trump campaign approached regarding this, it’s definitely been marketed to entities as a means of influencing elections (in this case, influencing GOP delegates).” (I have reposted the NYT story on our blog .)

This software allows you to have sock puppets on steriods, provide VPNs for masking your geographical location, with the ability to actually pull in feeds from the geographical location you are claiming to be in, so you make the right comments and comment on local posts/issues and such.

Sock puppets and fake personas were not a new invention, of course. But you usually had to be a technical wizard of sorts to be able to pull it off. You would have to actually write things in a certain voice and monitor the input and output feeds of a given location on your own. Perhaps a gifted individual could have 5 or 10 of these going at once, but that would be impressive.

In contrast, using the software described in the RFP that was retrieved from Aaron’s FOIA request on Barrett’s behalf, someone could have dozens or even hundreds of these things going at once; without having to remember everything. In addition, the software could refresh one’s memory about a certain profile before having to interact with a human. And human interactions come so rarely anyway. Most all social media interactions are passive – like email, as opposed to conversations in real time.

From the NY Times story:

“A top Trump campaign official requested proposals in 2016 from an Israeli company to create fake online identities, to use social media manipulation and to gather intelligence to help defeat Republican primary race opponents and Hillary Clinton, according to interviews and copies of the proposals.

The Trump campaign’s interest in the work began as Russians were escalating their effort to aid Donald J. Trump…

The campaign official, Rick Gates, sought one proposal to use bogus personas to target and sway 5,000 delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention by attacking Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Mr. Trump’s main opponent at the time.” – NY Times Article by By Mark Mazzetti, Ronen Bergman, David D. Kirkpatrick and Maggie Haberman.

I will keep you posted as things develop.

Come discuss this and other Aaron Swartz Day mysteries at our March 8th Raw Thought Salon.

References:

  1. Persona Management listing on Project PM (courtesy of the Internet Archive): https://web.archive.org/web/20170326000753/http://wiki.project-pm.org/wiki/Persona_Management (http://wiki.project-pm.org/wiki/Persona_Management is temporarily down.)
  2. Document returned from Aaron’s “persona management” FOIA request : https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/persona-management-software-544/#file-9522
  3. Every FOIA Aaron Ever Filed on Muckrock, https://tinyurl.com/Aaron-Swartz-FOIAs
  4. Aaron Swartz’s FOIA Requests Shed Light on His Struggle, By Jason Leopold, for Truthout, January 16, 2013 https://truthout.org/articles/cyberactivist-aaron-swartz-legacy-of-open- government-efforts-continues/
  5. Rick Gates Sought Online Manipulation Plans From Israeli Intelligence Firm for Trump Campaign By Mark Mazzetti, Ronen Bergman, David D. Kirkpatrick and Maggie Haberman for the New York Times, October 8, 2018 https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/08/us/politics/rick-gates-psy-group-trump.html

 

A Little Information About the Vegan Pizza at our Q & A Event January 11th

TICKETS (or just RSVP to aaronswartzday@gmail.com)

A little update on the pizza we are serving for our Aaron Swartz Q & A Event.

It’s really really tasty — and not what you would expect.

There was a time, not too long ago, when the words “Vegan Pizza” struck fear into the hearts of many a pizza lover.

Well, friends, that time has past.

This vegan pizza is very very tasty pizza (from DNA Pizza) – you might not even notice – it just happens to be vegan.

I wanted to let folks know a bit about the “Vegan Pizza” we will be serving from DNA Pizza.

A gluten-free crust is available upon request. I’m not sure if it’s necessary, so, if you’d prefer it,  even require it, please do email me at aaronswartzday@gmail.com.

These are the three styles of pizza we’ll have on hand:

Vegan Potesto: vegan pesto, garlic roasted potatoes, roasted garlic

Vegan Shmegan: olive oil base, vegan ricotta (Note: It’s great! I tried it!), tomatoes, basil, chopped garlic

SFV: olive oil base, red onion, green onion, tomato, chopped garlic

Thanks! :))

Hope to see you from 7:30-9:30 pm – Here are more details about what we are doing then – with special guest Ryan Shapiro.