John Knefel

John has reported extensively on Guantanamo Bay, Obama’s drone program, and the increasing militarization of US police forces. He has travelled to Guantanamo several times and was arrested twice while covering Occupy Wall Street.

John here. Last Sunday I got to go to Washington, DC to speak with Rafiq ur Rehman and his two children about a strike (almost certainly from a US drone) that killed his mother last year. Rafiq, his son Zubair, and his daughter Nabeela were all incredibly kind and generous with their time. I wrote about it for RS’s website.

US foreign policy is, for most of us, totally abstract. The other part of my piece focuses on Brandon Bryant, a former drone operator who has come forward to challenge the legitimacy of how the current drone program operates. For Brandon, Rafiq, Zubair, and Nabeela, none of this is an abstraction.

I’d love it if you took a minute to read my piece, read their stories, and share if you’d like.

John here. That’s a long headline, but it’s accurate. I wrote about these private spies for Rolling Stone’s website, and you should go read it and share because you probably think first amendment rights are super important.

The quick summary is that as cops are becoming more militarized, they’re also moving into intelligence gathering — an activity traditionally frowned up for law enforcement to engage in. The companies I detail in the story — and there are many more examples — openly market their products as a way to respond to protests and covertly monitor social media data.

The law is notoriously so to respond to tech advances, and since much of this activity takes place in total secrecy people who tweet about a protest have no idea how their data is being collected, how long it is being stored for, or whether it’s being processed as a way to discover networks between activists.

If you like it, share on social media. The irony isn’t lost on me.

Hey scoochers, John here. Today, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International both released massive, important reports on the US drone / killing programs in Yemen and Pakistan. I covered them for Rolling Stone’s website, which you can read here.

If you want more information about both reports, you can read Sarah Knuckey’s post over at Just Security, and also check out the NYT’s coverage from a correspondent who spent a long time living in Pakistan.