Author Archive | aaroncynic

The Rise of Ad-Hoc Journalist Support Networks

Picture: Nicolás García (CC)

As the mainstream corporate media has consistently failed to meet the needs of the people, we’ve seen a shift towards a larger, more robust independent press with thousands of DIY/Citizen journalists writing, photographing, videotaping, tweeting and streaming in order to get stories to the public that are either ignored or reported on poorly. Those of us who engage in journalistic activities independent from a corporate entity though, don’t have the same support system as a newsroom. But as our numbers grow and people increasingly follow our stories, we can create better networks.

Josh Stearns writes at PBS Mediashift:

Journalistic collaboration isn’t just something that happens between newsrooms. Increasingly, journalists working outside of traditional news organizations are coming together to support each other in a range of ways, from offering safety advice when covering protests to sharing news tips, local resource recommendations and more.

“When ecosystems change and inflexible institutions collapse,” Clay Shirky wrote in a post on his blog, “their members disperse, abandoning old beliefs, trying new things, making their living in different ways than they used to.” In the news industry, an ecosystem is emerging that’s fueled by independent and citizen reporters, along with a new generation of small non-profit news sites.

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A Visit To The NATO Five

Outside a court hearing for the NATO 5

Rachel Allshiny writes at Occupied Stories:

Chicago, IL–For someone who’s never been arrested, I sure spend a lot of time at Cook County Jail lately.

As part of Occupy Chicago’s ongoing jail solidarity effort for the NATO 5, who are facing terrorism charges, I have been attending as many court dates as my schedule allows.  Most of these court dates are just for updates, or to set new court dates, but being there is an important show of support.  At the first few I attended we pushed our luck a bit by standing and raising fists in solidarity, so much so that the judge has taken to reading a decorum order before calling any of their cases.  He claims it’s not really aimed at us, just meant as a point of information for “people who only know about court from TV,” but since it uses words like “conduct of solidarity” and “protest,” I tend to take it personally.… Read the rest

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DARPA To Develop Technology To Analyze Social Media

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

A contract proposal from the Defense Department’s research arm DARPA revealed the Pentagon is looking to develop computer algorithms which would mine data from social media websites and use it to track and analyze the behavior of various criminal and terrorist groups (h/t Mashable). In order to understand group dynamics and “forecast trends”, the DOD hopes to understand how a group evolves, interacts, recruits, influences other groups and affect the opinions of individuals and communities.

In phase 1, DARPA wants a system developed which would first track groups and their state changes and research “key indicators” of interactions. In phase 2, the system developed would learn the “dynamics of group behavior and inter- and intra-group interactions in an unsupervised manner,” then achieve a 90% accuracy rate in detecting state changes in 1,000 groups with a combined total of more than a million members with 100,000 postings a day.… Read the rest

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House Panel Seeks To Silence Journalists


Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

Recently, House of Representatives panel discussed potentially amending the Espionage Act to prosecute journalists who report leaked information. In response to several instances where reporters have used information leaked to them by confidential sources to write stories, the panel suggested amending the law, which was enacted in 1917 to prosecute spies and others who divulge information considered sensitive, to punish journalists who do not reveal their sources. According to the LA Times, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R – SC) said “Put them in front of the grand jury. You either answer the question or you’re going to be held in contempt and go to jail, which is what I thought all reporters aspire to do anyway.”

No journalist has been prosecuted under the Espionage Act before, and the idea is more than chilling towards those who believe that one of the major functions of media should be to hold government accountable for its actions.… Read the rest

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Jail Solidarity, Part Three

ryan griffis (CC)

“As his face faded from the television screen, the light in my eyes dimmed.”

Natalie Solidarity writes at Diatribe Media:

My gentle friend was returned to state custody even as I willed otherwise. Three days later, my Occupy Chicago brothers and I sat on cold stone benches, watching families visit their fathers for the hallmark holiday. We drove together to visit our comrade together because that’s what families do. It was a hot Sunday, and I had finally entered the waiting area after being reminded my tank top was not welcome and I had to cover my body in a tee-shirt. At our comrade’s cellblock division, the guards did not perform the vigorous pat-down we found in other sections, even though they’re all part of the same Cook County system. In this division, number 6, my brothers and I simply dumped our nearly-empty pockets into bins and walked through metal detectors.… Read the rest

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The Increased Criminalization of Dissent

Jason Wilson (CC)

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

American law enforcement agencies continue to increase their surveillance on an otherwise fairly complacent citizenry, logging an incredible amount of requests for information regarding cell phone and social media use.

Last week, a judge in New York ruled that Twitter must give a court close to three months of information from a user in a pending case involving an Occupy Wall Street protester arrested at a demonstration on the Brooklyn Bridge in October. In February, a subpoena from the New York City District Attorney’s office demanded the microblogging site, often used by protesters to update their followers on events happening on the street in real time, give up “any and all user information, including email address, as well as any and all tweets posted for the period of 9/15/2011-12/31/2011” from user Malcolm Harris.” Harris (@destructuremal), managing editor for the New Inquiry online magazine was arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge with 700 other demonstrators.… Read the rest

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If This Country Is So Free, I Can Burn Your Flag Wherever I Please

Debra Sweet (CC)

Natalie Solidarity and Aaron Cynic write at Diatribe Media:

The Fourth of July celebrates of the birth of the United States, its act of finally breaking free from tyrannical England, represented by a reenactment of bombs exploding in the sky. As a nation, we fetishize the loss of life on both sides while we devour factory-farmed meats, consume liquids bottled in poor countries, and with fireworks, literally burn the money we sweat and toil for. We yearn for a respite from our jobs, the right to liberate ourselves for a day from the chains of our work. We are free to trade our bodies, complete with aches and pains, for money. We consider our country the freest on the Earth, with civil liberties we celebrate and cherish like free speech and assembly shrink wrapped to our right to dissent.

Yet, as the bombs made by laborers cheaply in other countries for our enjoyment burst in the air, the feeling of true liberation dissipates as quickly as the smoke from a municipal fireworks show.

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Jail Solidarity, Part Two: Until The Prison Walls Are Rubble

Natalie Solidarity writes at Diatribe Media:

In the depressing afternoon of June 14th, I watched the same tactics from prosecutors regarding freedoms of the remaining NATO5 “terrorists.” After dejectedly exiting 26th and California, my comrades and I drove across Chicago to support another prisoner. In a different courtroom with similar ridiculous charges levied against yet another gentle comrade whose only crime was daring to stand up to the bully state, I watched an Occupier stand in front of a judge. This time, instead of shackles, he entered the room with his right arm heavily bandaged and in a sling, and his body was in disrepair. The bruised, battered and shocked accounts from that horrible night of his brutal and unnecessarily forceful arrest at the Quebec Solidarité rally and Casserole march showed his arm was fine before incarceration. He’s being charged with a crime against police that he did not commit.

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Strategic Missives for Agitation and Occupation

Ralgis (CC)

“The proliferation of political demonstrations and resistance that gained traction under the moniker “Occupy” breathed new life into experimental political practice.

We feel that this development is poised to reinvigorate critical and political theory. Gilles Deleuze once remarked in a conversation with Michel Foucault that, “No theory can develop without eventually encountering a wall, and practice is necessary for piercing this wall.” Deleuze also emphasized that the reverse holds equally true, “Practice is a set of relays from one theoretical point to another, and theory is a relay from one practice to another.”

The arrival of the Occupy movement has broken down barriers encountered in the realm of critical theory. But as it endures and grows, it will continually encounter barriers that will only be overcome by theoretical interventions. The Supplement serves as a cartographer of experimental practices and a depository for theoretical tools.”

Download the PDF at Diatribe Media

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