CEO of London's Serpentine Gallery resigns after Guardian investigation accuses her of being part owner of notorious cyber-arms-dealer NSO Group

The NSO Group (previously) is one of the world's most notorious cyber-arms dealers, linked to horrific human rights abuses, extrajudicial killing of human rights activists, and the dirtiest of dirty trick campaigns against its critics (and their lawyers) -- they're also accused of helping with the Saudi government's murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Read the rest

IBM supplied surveillance gear to Davao while Duterte was mayor and cheering on the city's police-linked death-squads

During the long years when Philippines strongman Rodrigo Duterte (previously) was mayor of Davao (circumventing term limits by periodically allowing his daughter to run for mayor and serving as her vice-mayor) the city was terrorized by death-squads who enjoyed total impunity as they assassinated police suspects and Duterte's political opponents, while Duterte cheered them on (Duterte has boasted about his participation in extrajudicial killings during this period, but has also denied participation in the death squads). Read the rest

Math against crimes against humanity: Using rigorous statistics to prove genocide when the dead cannot speak for themselves

Patrick Ball and the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) (previously) use careful, rigorous statistical models to fill in the large blank spots left behind by acts of genocide, bringing their analysis to war crimes tribunals, truth and reconciliation proceedings, and other reckonings with gross human rights abuses. Read the rest

Using statistics to estimate the true scope of the secret killings at the end of the Sri Lankan civil war

In the last three days of the Sri Lankan civil war, as thousands of people surrendered to government authorities, hundreds of people were put on buses driven by Army officers. Many were never seen again. Read the rest

RIP, George HW Bush: a mass-murderer and war-criminal

They're burying George HW Bush today and even before they planted him, the whitewashing began: we've heard an awful lot about how kind he was to his service dog and his love of colorful socks and a lot less about his role in running an onshore terrorist training camp for Latin America's death squads, his role in toppling democratic governments on two continents, his role in arming and supporting Saddam Hussein, then turning on him and kicking off a genocidal war in Iraq whose goal was to bomb an advanced, heavily populated nation "to the pre-industrial era." Read the rest

Trump wants to kill the International Criminal Court to protect US war criminals from prosecution for Afghan crimes

Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton on how the administration views the International Criminal Court in the Hague, where genocides, crimes against humanity and war crimes are prosecuted: "We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us." Bolton's goal? Ensuring "that the ICC does not exercise jurisdiction over Americans" who are accused of war crimes in Afghanistan. (Image: OSeveno, CC-BY-SA) (via Naked Capitalism) Read the rest

Border family separation isn't "zero tolerance" - CBP looked for parents to charge so they could kidnap kids

The official story of the Trump administration's family separation policy is that it came about as a result of "zero tolerance" in which every person who could be charged with a crime would be, and that meant that parents were arrested too, and since the parents were going to jail, their kids had to be held somewhere. Read the rest

Mladic the genocide: a moment of silence for the Balkans' lost lives, honor and credibility

Charles Manson, world-famous cult leader and serial killer, died this week in a prison in California, after a life sentence. Ratko Mladic, Balkan war criminal, just received a life sentence in The Hague yesterday.

RIP, Bassel Khartabil, Syrian free culture activist executed by the Assad regime

Syrian Creative Commons lead Bassel Khartabil disappeared in 2012, snatched off the Damascus streets by Syrian authorities; in 2015, he was secretly executed by the Assad regime, a fact that has only just come to light. Read the rest

Jury to rule on whether the CIA's torture architects will stand trial for killing and maiming

Psychologist James Mitchell is the self-described "architect" of the CIA's torture program (a consulting gig that netted him a cool $80m at taxpayer expense), along with his partner John "Bruce" Jessen -- they're the pair who oversaw black-site torture programs that killed and maimed people who'd been convicted of no crime by any court, anywhere in the world. Read the rest

The coming fight over "nonlethal neuroweapons"

The Chemical Weapons Convention has a giant loophole in that it allows for the stockpiling and use of chemical agents in law-enforcement; with the Eighth Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) coming up next month, there's an urgent question about whether "neuroweapons" (chemical agents intended to pacify or disperse people) will become tools of law-enforcement and "defensive warfare." Read the rest

International Criminal Court in the Hague will now try CEOs

CEOs whose businesses are complicit in human rights atrocities -- like the mass murder of people who object to land-grabs by mineral extraction companies -- can now be tried in the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Read the rest

Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan invests in Internet surveillance company that backstops notorious dictatorships

The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (OTPP) has joined a private equity consortium that acquired the notorious Internet surveillance company BlueCoat, yoking teachers' retirement security to the fortunes of a company that has systematically assisted some of the world's most brutal dictatorships to censor and surveil their citizenry. Blue Coat has blood on its hands, people rounded up and tortured and even killed thanks to it and products like it, and it's a disgrace for teachers -- whose professional ethics embrace freedom, intellectual inquiry, and fairness -- to be part of the financial exit strategy for the people who founded and ran that company.

Ron Deibert and Sarah McKune from the University of Toronto's CitizenLab and Munk School of Global Affairs have written an op-ed in the Toronto Star, detailing some of BlueCoat's ethical unsuitablity, and the fact that the OTPP went into the transaction having been thoroughly briefed on what they were getting into.

If you'd like to read more about BlueCoat, check out CitizenLab's excellent report: "Mapping Global Censorship and Surveillance Tools."

Now, a year later, Citizen Lab has released a new report, Planet Blue Coat: Mapping Global Censorship and Surveillance Tools. Using a combination of technical interrogation methods, our researchers scanned the Internet to look for signature evidence of Blue Coat products. While our investigation was not exhaustive and provided only a limited window of visibility into the deployment of such tools, what we were able to find raises serious concerns.

We uncovered 61 Blue Coat ProxySG and 316 Blue Coat PacketShaper devices, which are designed to filter online content and inspect and control network traffic.

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Joseph Kony documentary: bringing the world's attention to the horrific Lord's Resistance Army

An activist group called Invisible Children has produced a 29-minute documentary on Joseph Kony, the leader of Uganda's horrific Lord's Resistance Army, which recruits by kidnapping children and beating and abusing them until they serve as soldiers. Invisible Children hopes that viewers of the video will be inspired to "go viral" with the campaign in a coordinated action on April 20 that, they hope, will spur the world's governments into taking decisive action against the LRA.

Wired's Spencer Ackerman describes the early success of the campaign and the criticisms that it has drawn from other human rights activists who say the video is "obfuscating" and accuse it of oversimplifying the complexities of US military intervention.

The visually sophisticated documentary tells the story of the Lord’s Resistance Army’s brutal history in Uganda — it doesn’t say much about Kony’s flight to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic — mostly through the eyes of Jacob, a child refugee whose brother was killed by the militia. At one point, the boy says he would prefer to die rather than to live in the world Kony has made. It hits like an emotional sledgehammer.

And that lays the foundation for the campaign the movie essentially advertises. The nonprofit group behind it, Invisible Children, supports President Obama’s recent deployment of 100 military advisers to Uganda to help its army hunt Kony, a decision that required years of grassroots demands from humanitarian activists. In order to make sure the pressure keeps up, and Kony is ultimately arrested — this year — Invisible Children wants to plaster the cities of the world with red, visually striking KONY 2012 posters, stickers and t-shirts.

Read the rest