Cybersecurity corporation spying on Black Lives Matter movement

This video from the USA says about itself:

Here’s Sandra Bland talking about Black Lives Matter: It’s amazing

24 July 2015

Everyone is working to figure out how Sandra Bland died, and that is important. But what people are missing is how she lived. This extraordinary woman was an amazing activist, and this video shows the kind of passion she had for other black people. Take a listen.

After the National Guard in the USA called demonstrators against the death of Michael Brown ‘enemy forces’

From Mother Jones magazine in the USA:

Black Lives Matter Organizers Labeled as “Threat Actors” by Cybersecurity Firm

“It confirms that us telling the truth about police violence is seen as a threat.”

By Brandon Ellington Patterson

Mon Aug. 3, 2015 10:38 AM EDT

Documents from a “crisis management” report produced by the cybersecurity firm ZeroFox indicate that the firm monitored Black Lives Matter protesters during the Freddie Gray protests in Baltimore earlier this year.

The name ZeroFox reminds me of Fox News and the Rupert Murdoch empire; also massively spying on people for profit.

They also remind me of other ‘cybersecurity’ and spyware corporations, like Hacking Team and FinFisher, colluding with oppression in Bahrain and elsewhere.

The documents, which surfaced online last Wednesday, also state that the firm “protected” the online accounts of Maryland and Baltimore officials and members of the Baltimore Police Department and Maryland National Guard.

The report identifies DeRay McKesson and Johnetta Elzie, two prominent Black Lives Matter organizers who took part in the Baltimore protests, as “threat actors” for whom “immediate response is recommended.” It describes McKesson and Elzie as “high” severity, “physical,” and “#mostwanted” threats and notes both have a “massive following” on social media. It says that ZeroFox was engaged in “continuous monitoring” of their social media accounts and specifies their geographical locations at the time of the report. The report does not suggest that the pair were suspected of criminal activity but were “main coordinators of the protests.”

ZeroFox describing civil rights activists as 'theats'

McKesson and Elzie both tell Mother Jones they were “not surprised” that they were being watched. “It confirms that us telling the truth about police violence is seen as a threat,” McKesson says. Both activists say they do not know why they were identified as physical threats. McKesson and Elzie live in Missouri, where they helped organize the Ferguson protests. They traveled together to Baltimore for a week and a half during the Freddie Gray protests.

A link to the ZeroFox report first circulated on Twitter last Wednesday. ZeroFox did not respond to a request to confirm the authenticity of the documents. The Baltimore Police Department and the mayor’s chief of staff did not respond to request for comment. The Maryland governor’s office says that the state does not have a contract with ZeroFox.

In emails exchanged in April, ZeroFox’s CEO, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlins-Blake’s chief of staff, and the president of the Maryland chapter of an FBI intelligence partnership program discussed ZeroFox’s potential surveillance “help” for Baltimore. These emails were released to the Baltimore Sun last week following a public records request. The emails also indicate that ZeroFox “briefed our classified partners” at the Fort Meade Army base in Maryland on “intelligence” it had collected during the Gray protests. Other emails from the Baltimore Police Department indicate the department had collected “intelligence regarding potentially violent agitators.”

The report on the Black Lives Matter organizers is dated the day after the Fort Meade briefing. It states that ZeroFox intended to “alert Baltimore PD on all monitoring threat actors and influencers.”

According to the leaked report, ZeroFox monitored 62 “threat actors” and 187 “threat influencers,” including a Twitter user who was “a main local protest organizer” and another who was “sending supplies from New Jersey.” The report also identifies people, organizations, and systems for “asset protection,” including Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlins-Blake, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Baltimore Police Department Captain Eric Kowalczyk, and other members of the Baltimore police and Maryland National Guard.

This report has emerged amid growing evidence of federal, state, and local government monitoring of Black Lives Matter protests. Last month, the Intercept published Department of Homeland Security emails showing that the department had closely tracked Black Lives Matter protesters in Washington, DC in April. Since protests started in Ferguson, Missouri, last August, the department has also monitored non-protest events such as cultural events and prayer vigils in DC, Atlanta, Oakland, Chicago, Baltimore, New York City, Philadelphia, and elsewhere.

The emails obtained by the Baltimore Sun also say that ZeroFox performed surveillance for the New York Police Department during protests over the death of Eric Garner. ZeroFox also has a contract to provide equipment to the State Department.

McKesson says that during last year’s protests in Ferguson, he and other prominent organizers became suspicious that they were being monitored by local police officials there as well. On numerous occasions, he says, they interacted with police officers that knew their names and Twitter accounts. “The police officers in St. Louis knew us. They knew many of us by Twitter handle. It was clear they read our Twitter feed. It was clear they watched the live streams [of protests],” he says. But the ZeroFox documents mark the first time he has seen written evidence that his activity was being tracked.

Elzie, too, says she already knew she was being watched. “I never needed a paper confirmation. But I guess it made it real for other people who just didn’t think that it was possible.”

‘Rihanna’s Freddie Gray concert plan blocked by Baltimore, USA police’

This video from the USA says about itself:

Rihanna, Nas, Alicia Keys: Superstars react to Ferguson grand jury decision

25 November 2014

Social media has been set ablaze after the police officer, Darren Wilson, who shot and killed an unarmed Michael Brown was not indicted by a grand jury in the murder trial in Ferguson, Missouri yesterday and big stars are now reacting differently from all over the world. Rihanna, Nas, Alicia Keys, Pharrell Williams, Gabrielle Union, Keri Hilson, Katy Perry, Michelle Williams, Ludacris and many more jumped on social media to air their views on the shocking verdict which has now left the city of Ferguson in complete violence.

RiRi posted a picture on her Instagram of a board which read: ‘Justice for – (I left it blank) because I’ll probably need this next year‘ and captioned it “Fact”.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Rihanna’s Freddie Gray concert was blocked by Baltimore police – reports

Singer had planned to walk with protesters and give free concert for 25-year-old African American man who died in police custody

Nadia Khomami

Wednesday 29 July 2015 12.34 BST

Rihanna was reportedly blocked by Baltimore police from playing a free concert for Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old African American man who was fatally injured by six police officers in April.

According to newly released emails between police and the singer’s representatives, obtained by the Baltimore Sun, Rihanna wanted to go to Baltimore in the week after race-related rioting broke out, to walk with protesters and perform a free concert.

In a message dated 1 May sent to Captain Eric Kowalczyk, the then head of media relations for Baltimore police, an officer detailed a conversation he had with a representative for the singer. He said the representative advised that Rihanna would arrive by plane and “in an effort to divert press/media she will be travelling to the city by train (or by car if necessary)”.

The officer added that the representative “had hoped to secure some extra police security and was directed by the governor’s office to seek assistance through communications”.

The email was forwarded to Anthony Batts, the then Baltimore police commissioner, and Kevin Harris, a spokesman for the mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

The possible concert was also mentioned in a situation report on 1 May, which revealed the location to be the intersection of Pennsylvania and West North avenues, the focal point of the protests. “Possible Rihanna Concert at Penn & North,” it read. “No time given. Police are claiming they have no permit so it will not be allowed.”

A state of emergency was declared in Baltimore amid widespread civil unrest across the city following Gray’s death, which a medical examiner ruled was a result of spinal injuries inflicted by arresting officers. Criminal charges including murder and manslaughter have since been brought against the officers involved.

During the unrest, Rihanna posted on Instagram a picture taken by Baltimore photographer Devin Allen of a black police officer with tear-filled eyes. The picture was accompanied with a crying emoji.

Other musicians who expressed concern about the situation included Kelly Rowland, Gerard Way, and Prince, who played a show at the city’s Royal Farms Arena on 10 May. The concert, Rally 4 Peace, was broadcast live by Tidal, the livestreaming company backed by rapper Jay Z.

Ferguson and Baltimore in new Solange Knowles song

This 10 May 2015 music video from the USA is called PrinceBaltimore (with lyrics).

From Entertainment Weekly in the USA:

Solange Knowles addresses Ferguson and Baltimore in new song

by Dana Rose Falcone

Solange Knowles premiered her latest song, “Rise,” Thursday night at a Los Angeles stop of Bessie’s 81 Theatre Tour. The track was inspired by the unrest in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, following the deaths of young black men in police custody.

Beyoncé’s younger sister isn’t the only artist to turn the turmoil in Baltimore and Ferguson into powerful lyrics. Prince wrote “Baltimore” about the protests and chaos that erupted in Maryland as a result of 25-year-old Freddie Gray’s April 19 death … . He debuted the track, which also mentions Michael Brown and Eric Garner, at his Rally 4 Peace concert last weekend.

There is no word yet whether “Rise” will appear on Knowles’ next album. HBO’s Bessie, a biopic of blues singer Bessie Smith, premieres Saturday at 8 p.m.

Beyoncé And Jay Z ‘Wired Thousands Of Dollars In Bail Money To Ferguson And Baltimore Protesters’: here.

A grand jury has indicted six Baltimore officers on a range of charges after the State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby presented her department’s investigation into the death of Freddie Gray. In a press conference Thursday, Mosby announced that the grand jury charged all six officers in connection to Gray’s death. Officers Edward Nero, Garrett Miller, Caesar Goodson, William Porter, and Sgt. Alicia White and Lt. Brian Rice were handed down a slew of charges ranging from misdemeanor negligent assault and misconduct to involuntary manslaughter, intentional assault, and murder: here.

Solidarity with Baltimore in London

This video from England says about itself:

London Solidarity Assembly Vigil 5.5.15

4 May 2015

MAY 5th

We Stand with BaltimoreBlack Lives Matter from Bedford to Baltimore

Location: US Embassy, 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 2LQ

Date: Tuesday 5th May at 6pm

London Campaign Against Police and State Violence are calling for a solidarity vigil to stand with the family and friends of victims of police violence in Baltimore: Freddie Gray, Mya Hall and also victims of police brutality in the UK.
SUPPORTED BY: United Families & Friends Campaign (UFFC), Defend the Right to Protest, nus black students’ campaign and Cole Family Truth Campaign.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

Solidarity with Baltimore as protests hit US embassy

Wednesday 6th May 2015

HUNDREDS assembled outside the US embassy in London last night to pay their respects to victims of police brutality, after a man in Devon died in circumstances similar to Freddie Gray.

The mass vigil was called after the IPCC confirmed it is investigating the death in police custody of a 38 year-old who had been restrained by Devon and Cornwall police during an altercation on April 29.

The unnamed man died in hospital this weekend leading to parallels being drawn with the case of Gray, which resulted in the recent Baltimore riots.

The brother of athlete Julian Cole, left paralysed after a brutal arrest in Bedford exactly two years ago yesterday, said ahead of the evening rally: “While the people who have done this to my little brother get to live their life, our family are fighting and hurting every day seeing him lay on the bed helpless, unable to talk or know we are there by his side.

“Those people have taken my brother away from me and I will never get to see him get old, have a family or even become a uncle.”

According to an investigation by the Independent newspaper, of the 3,000 police officers currently under investigation for abuse of force only 60 have been suspended.

In April, Home Secretary Theresa May was also forced to apologise to the families of Sean Rigg and Seni Lewis, admitting that mistakes had been made by the police when holding the men in custody. Mr Rigg’s sister Marcia told the Star that she understood Baltimore’s “grief and frustrations at the police and the judicial system.

“It is important to campaign peacefully together to tell our stories about these serious injustices that happen both in the UK and abroad.”

Speaking on behalf of one of the vigil’s organisers, London Campaign Against Police and State Violence activist Kojo Kyerewaa said they were fighting against “institutional racism.”

“We struggle against violence that is racial in nature, this violence is both physical and structural,” he said. “It results in the acceptable deaths of black and other racialised people. “The problem predates Mark Duggan and even the Metropolitan Police. “We want accountability for officers who have acted in ways that have led to deaths in custody and to an end of deaths in custody. “Without justice, there can be no peace.”

London: A democracy campaigner accused the Metropolitan Police of abuse of force yesterday after being left with a twisted knee, ankle and severe bruising following his arrest at a meditation session on Westminster’s Parliament Square. Donnachadh McCarthy was one of the three people arrested next to Gandhi’s statue on Monday evening as the Occupy Democracy camp defied the ban on camping equipment in an “act of Gandhian civil disobedience”: here.

In a massive and daunting attack on democratic rights, authorities in Baltimore detained some 250 people, without charge and in deplorable conditions, following protests on April 27 against the police killing of Freddie Gray. This unconstitutional round up and vindictive treatment received scant attention in the corporate media, with most coverage appearing only after a Facebook post by a public defender in Baltimore went viral, with almost 21,000 shares in fewer than two days: here.

Baltimore, USA police charged over Freddie Gray’s death

This video from the USA says about itself:

USA: Riot police halt Baltimore May Day with curfew

1 May 2015

After thousands poured onto the streets earlier in the day to take part in May Day demonstrations supporting Freddie Gray, around 50 protesters remained in defiance of the 22.00 curfew, Friday.

From in the USA:

Baltimore police officers charged in Freddie Gray death

Friday 1 May 2015 at 5:01 PM ET

by Alison Sacriponte

The State’s Attorney for Baltimore City on Friday charged six police officers [press release] with crimes including murder and manslaughter over the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray while he was in police custody.

Baltimore state attorney Marilyn Mosby [official profile] filed charges almost immediately upon receiving the medical examiner’s report that ruled Gray’s death a homicide. Gray’s arrest and death have led to ongoing protests and civil disorder in the city of Baltimore. Earlier this week Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] urged Baltimore police to exercise restraint [JURIST report] during protests, prioritize non-violent means and limit the use of force.

Also on Friday, amidst national concern about police behavior, the US Department of Justice [official website] announced a $20 million body camera grant [press release] program that includes training, technical assistance and evaluation to accompany $17 million for local law enforcement agencies to purchase body-worn cameras. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said, “Body-worn cameras hold tremendous promise for enhancing transparency, promoting accountability, and advancing public safety for law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.”

Racial tension has recently mounted in the US following several police killings of unarmed black men. Earlier this year Judge Edgar Dickson of the South Carolina Circuit Court declared a mistrial [JURIST report] in the murder case against a former police chief for the 2011 killing of an unarmed black man. After a grand jury decided not to indict [JURIST report] the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who last year shot and killed Micheal Brown [USA Today Timeline], an African American teenager, there was a large uproar from the Ferguson community that led to mass protests and violence in some instances.

The case had reached international news with AI reporting [JURIST report] human rights abuses by Ferguson Police in late October. In early October a federal judge ruled [JURIST report] that the police tactics used on protesters were unconstitutional and issued a preliminary injunction. The American Civil Liberties Union [advocacy website] also published a report [JURIST report] arguing that increased militarization of police forces is putting citizens at risk rather than protecting them.

Police in Baltimore, Maryland moved aggressively to arrest protesters Friday night, following an announcement earlier in the day that state prosecutors were charging six police officers in the murder of 25-year-old Freddie Gray: here.

Freddie Gray officer had innocent man prosecuted as part of lengthy feud. Brian Rice, charged with manslaughter in Gray death, accused ex-lover’s husband of breaking a court order as part of a feud that police chiefs were warned about: here.

THE CONSEQUENCES OF HIGH BAIL FOR THE POOR “Defense lawyers, scholars and even some judges say the high bail amounts set for some Baltimore protesters highlight a much broader problem with the nation’s money-based bail system. They say that system routinely punishes poor defendants before they get their day in court, often keeping them incarcerated for longer than if they had been convicted right away.” [NYT]

AUTOPSY: FREDDIE GREY SUFFERED SINGLE HIGH-ENERGY INJURY “Freddie Gray suffered a single ‘high-energy injury’ to his neck and spine — most likely caused when the police van in which he was riding suddenly decelerated, according to a copy of the autopsy report obtained by The Baltimore Sun. The state medical examiner’s office concluded that Gray’s death could not be ruled an accident, and was instead a homicide, because officers failed to follow safety procedures ‘through acts of omission.'” [The Baltimore Sun]

The death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, an event which provoked massive protests and unrest, leading to a police-military occupation of Baltimore by 5,000 National Guardsmen, was an act of homicide caused by police officers, an autopsy report leaked by an anonymous source to the Baltimore Sun confirmed: here.

ST. LOUIS — Kevin Moore, the man who filmed Freddie Gray’s violent arrest, was detained in Baltimore on Thursday night, along with Chad Jackson and Tony Smith, two activists who had previously filmed protests in Ferguson, Missouri: here.

From Ferguson to Baltimore, a 5-Step Guide to the Police Repression of Protest: here.

Read the horrifying racist texts that have prompted a probe of San Francisco police: here.

Freddie Grey solidarity, all over the USA

Protesters against police violence stop traffic at a major intersection in Chinatown as they begin a march toward the White House in Washington, April 29, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

From the International Business Times:

Freddie Gray Protests: New York City, Washington, DC, Among Cities Demonstrating In Solidarity With Baltimore [PHOTOS]

By Julia Glum

April 29 2015 9:23 PM EDT

UPDATE, 9:45 p.m. EDT: Denver police officers used pepper spray at a 100-person protest downtown Wednesday night, the Denver Post reported. They also arrested a number of participants.

Original story:

Activists in New York, Boston, Washington and other cities across the country rallied Wednesday night in solidarity with Baltimore to protest the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old African-American who died last week from injuries sustained while in police custody. Earlier in the week, Los Angeles, Chicago and Ferguson, Missouri, had held protests of their own.

Stephanie, of Minneapolis, says she decided to come to the rally for solidarity

This demonstrator’s sign refers to the way Freddie Grey was killed.

“We have a clear message,” organizer Brock Satter told the Boston Globe at a 500-person rally in Boston. “We’re gonna demand the government indict the killers of Freddie Gray. If you want peace, if you want calm, jail the killers of Freddie Gray.”

Gray’s death has been compared with those of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York; and Walter Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina. All were unarmed black men who died during confrontations with police.

Erica Garner, Eric Garner‘s daughter, spoke at the New York rally. She told protesters that she had attended Gray’s funeral on Monday and understood — but did not endorse — the violence. “We need to change this for the next generation,” Garner added, according to Black Youth Project tweets. “This has to stop now.”

The aunt of Akai Gurley, who was fatally shot by police in Brooklyn, New York, in November, was also in attendance, according to MSNBC reporter Amanda M. Sakuma.

Later in the night, local affiliate ABC 7 reported that New York Police Department officers had begun arresting protesters. At least 12 people had been taken into custody as of 8 p.m.

The size of the protests Wednesday varied, but Twitter posts showed that all of them had the same message: Black lives matter. Several demonstrations were organized around hashtags that declared their solidarity with Baltimore — a phrase that’s been tweeted more than 7,000 times in the past week, according to Topsy.

See photos and videos of the protests below.

See also here.

In Photos: Hundreds of New Yorkers Take to the Streets as Freddie Gray Protests Spread Across US: here.

Support grows for Baltimore protests. Protests planned in Cincinnati, Philadelphia today; 3 more on Friday: here.

THE Baltimore protests over the police killing of 25-year-old African-American Freddie Gray have spread all over the USA. Gray died of a spinal cord injury while in police custody: here.

Thousands of people marched in cities from Boston to Chicago to Ferguson, Missouri, to show solidarity with Baltimore and connect the case of Freddie Gray with police killings of unarmed African Americans across the country. In Boston, protesters gathered in front of police headquarters, chanting “Being black is not a crime, same story every time.” In Minneapolis, protesters marched across town carrying a coffin. Here in New York City, at least 120 people were reportedly arrested as protesters shut down parts of the Holland Tunnel, West Side Highway and Times Square. Protester Al Patron said attention has focused too heavily on the tactics used during Monday night’s uprising in Baltimore and not enough on the underlying problems: here.

Thousands of workers and students demonstrated in Baltimore Wednesday, defying the military-police crackdown in the city of 622,000. Solidarity protests, including those demanding the removal of the National Guard from Baltimore, spread to other cities, including New York City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Washington, DC. While the police murder of 25-year-old Freddie Gray was the trigger of social opposition, the outpouring of protests is driven by deeper social causes: here.

Thousands of people participated in demonstrations Wednesday night throughout the United States to protest the ongoing wave of police violence and the military/police crackdown in Baltimore. Protesters took to the streets in New York City, Boston, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Denver, Houston, and other cities: here.

On Thursday the Baltimore Police Department completed an internal investigation into the killing of Freddie Gray, 25, whose brutal arrest on the morning of April 12 was followed by a roughly 40-minute van ride, at the end of which Gray was found in critical condition. He fell into a coma and died one week later, a result of complications from a severely broken neck. Protests continued in Baltimore and other cities throughout the US continued Thursday: here.

Freddie Gray: protests across US as Baltimore forced to free 100 suspects. Marches in New York, Boston, Ferguson and Washington, while authorities in Baltimore back down after holding people for days without charge: here.

Why Did Ferguson and Baltimore Erupt? Look to the Government-Backed History of Housing Segregation. The recent African-American uprisings aren’t just about police brutality: here.

FREDDIE GRAY ARREST REPORT COMES UNDER FIRE “A leaked police document that claims Freddie Gray was ‘intentionally trying to injure himself’ while in the back of a police van in Baltimore after his arrest is being questioned due to inconsistencies with earlier reports. Gray died a week after his videotaped April 12 arrest due to injuries sustained under uncertain circumstances while in police custody, sparking protests in Baltimore and around the nation.” In New York, thousands rallied to protest Gray’s death. [Andrew Hart, HuffPost]

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby gave an update on the investigation into the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old who died after suffering a spinal cord injury while in police custody in April, calling his death a homicide. “We have probable cause to file criminal charges,” Mosby said in a press conference Friday. Mosby noted that “no crime had been committed by Mr. Gray”: here.

Ferguson And Now Baltimore Prove There’s No Free Lunch. We pay, one way or the other, for the way our country leaves the poor out on a limb and far from a leafy gated community: here.

Foreign Lives Matter. American racism at home and abroad only highlights the hypocrisy of U.S. foreign policy. And the rest of the world isn’t buying America’s message anymore: here.

Twenty-five-year-old Brandon Lawrence, an Afghanistan veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder, was shot by police multiple times outside his home last weekend while his family was inside. Lawrence was pronounced dead at a hospital the following morning, April 26. The two unnamed officers involved have been placed on paid administrative leave: here.