Part 1: Invaluable Resources Every Political Researcher, Historian & Activist Should Have

In part 1 of 2 of this particular series I am going to disclose the locations of nearly every library of declassified documents you can find online dating back to World War II, specifically implicating the United States Government. Perhaps most importantly, all of the documents contained within them were won via Freedom of Information Act requests and/or lawsuits. In part 2 of this series, I will assemble all of the online links you need to begin requesting new information from the Government for yourself, for free, with just the click of a button and the filling out of an application. But without any further adieu……

For those of you whom are not aware, over the course of the last two decades or so many legal experts, researchers and activists have been lobbying very hard to make government records more accessible to the general public. However, even in victory, rarely if ever do these successes ever get reported in the news. To this effect, below you can find various archives and repositories full of hundreds of thousands of newly declassified documents/files dating all the way back to the end of WW2 and up on through the 2000’s – all disclosed via “Freedom of Information Act” (FOIA) lawsuits. In the case of the CIA for example, these archives used to only be accessible via one computer located in Washington DC – until the entire archive was published/released online for the first time in 2017, that is.

Below is a list of open/available databases hosting countless records across different US Government agencies, almost all of them classified at one point or another throughout America’s past. I put them all together here today not only for my own resources, but also because I believe them to be invaluable resources for anyone reporting on modern US politics or US history, including educators, as a means to understand various situations or circumstances as they existed throughout the past – leading to the politics of today.

NSA FOIA Online Archive/Repository: https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/virtual-reading-room
NSA Declassification & Transparency Index: https://www.nsa.gov/news-features/declassified-documents/

US Department of State Archive/Repository: https://foia.state.gov/Search/Search.aspx

CIA Online Archive/Repository: https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/home

The Vault – FBI Archive/Repository: https://vault.fbi.gov/search

Reading Room – National Archives: https://www.archives.gov/foia/electronic-reading-room

Reading Room – Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/rr/main/

Department of Homeland Security Library: https://www.dhs.gov/foia-library

Available Documents – Department of Justice: https://www.justice.gov/oip/available-documents-all-doj-components

Executive Services Directorate – White House: https://www.esd.whs.mil/FOID/DoD-Records/

Electronic Library – NASA: https://www.hq.nasa.gov/pao/FOIA/err.htm

DoD – US Inspector General Reading Room: https://www.dodig.mil/FOIA/FOIA-Reading-Room/

US Army – FOIA Library: https://www.foia.army.mil/readingroom/index.aspx

US Navy FOIA Reading Room: https://www.secnav.navy.mil/foia/readingroom/SitePages/Home.aspx

US Airforce FOIA Library: https://www.foia.af.mil/Library/

US Senate Releases Open Letter Urging US States Department To Talk Egyptian Military Tyrant/Dictator al-Sisi Down from Passing New Constitution

(AI) – Egypt’s authorities must end their crackdown against critics who oppose amendments to the Egyptian constitution, proposed by members of parliament, that will strengthen impunity for human rights violations, said Amnesty International. Many of those who have criticized the changes have been arrested or publicly vilified in the media. The organization is today publishing an analysis of the constitutional amendments which are currently being discussed by the Egyptian parliament. If passed, these measures will undermine the independence of the judiciary, expand military trials for civilians and could allow President Abdel Fattah to stay in power until 2034.

Download Full Analysis Report: https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/MDE1201472019ENGLISH.pdf

If passed, these constitutional amendments would worsen the devastating human rights crisis Egyptians are already facing. They would grant President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and security forces free rein to further abuse their powers and suppress peaceful dissent for years to come,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International. “The Egyptian parliament has a responsibility towards Egyptians to preserve what remains of the country’s judicial independence and adherence to international law and reject the proposed amendments.

A parliamentary vote on the amendments is due in the coming weeks and if passed – the new draft constitution will be put to a public referendum. “Since President al-Sisi came to power human rights in Egypt have catastrophically deteriorated. Egypt’s international allies must not stand by silently as the Egyptian authorities push through these amendments while bullying anyone who dares to criticize the changes into silence. In particular, the US authorities should use President al-Sisi’s visit to Washington DC this week to publicly condemn the proposed changes.” President al-Sisi is due to meet with President Donald Trump during a visit to Washington DC on 9 April.

In its analysis Amnesty International expresses concern that the amendments would strengthen the influence of the Egyptian military over government, remove the requirement for judicial review of draft legislation, as well as expanding notoriously unfair military trials for civilians and granting the President sweeping powers to manage judicial affairs and appoint senior judges.

Other amendments that have drawn criticism from opponents are the plans to extend the presidential term to six years and introduce a provision allowing President al-Sisi to run for two further presidential terms.

Crackdown targeting critics

The amendments have attracted considerable criticism including from a number of public figures, human rights organizations, political parties and the State Council Judges Club. The authorities have responded by intensifying their crackdown on freedom of expression, targeting people who have voiced opposition to the amendments with arbitrary arrest and detention, defamation and even cyber-attacks.

More than 57 people have been arrested so far in 2019, with Egyptian NGOs citing higher figures, for peacefully expressing their opinions or merely being perceived to do so – at least four of them for expressing their opposition to the constitutional amendments on social media. The arrests have followed a pattern repeatedly documented by Amnesty International whereby the victims are arrested without warrants in the early hours of the morning, before being forcibly disappeared for several days. They later reappear before a state security prosecutor who orders their detention pending investigation on charges of “membership in terrorist groups” and “disseminating false information.

Several public figures – including some members of parliament –  who have expressed their opposition to the amendments have been widely criticized in public and private media and been subjected to smear campaigns. Some opponents have faced homophobic slurs, as well as calls, including from fellow members of parliament, for their prosecution for “treason” and for their Egyptian nationality to be revoked.

Amnesty International has also documented a wave of phishing attacks, that likely originated from government backed bodies, targeting independent media organizations and human rights defenders who reported  on the authorities, including the role of the General Intelligence Service, in pushing for the constitutional amendments.

Translated Nile River Phishing Report: https://citizenlab.ca/2017/02/nilephish-report/

Last week, on 28 March, a court prevented activists from the Civil Democratic Movement, an opposition movement, from holding a protest against the constitutional amendments in front of parliament. Egypt’s Minister of Interior filed a request asking the court not to grant permission for the protest on the basis that it could “threaten public peace and security.” The court decision cited concerns that “anti-state elements may infiltrate the protest and assault the protestors, in order to frame security forces as assaulting protestors. The intimidation and harassment of people who peacefully express their opinions, including those critical of the constitutional amendments, has to end now,” said Magdalena Mughrabi.

Instead of stepping up this vicious crackdown against peaceful critics, Egypt’s authorities should scrap these amendments and ensure that any proposed future changes do not violate the country’s human rights obligations under international law.

Browse Full Report:

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This report was originally published by Amnesty International on April 8th 2019. It was republished, with permission, under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License, in accordance with the Terms & Conditions of Amnesty International | Formatting Edits, Tweets, reports and PDF’s added and embedded by Rogue Media Labs

Zambian Government Censors/Bans Local News Organization Prime TV

According to recent reports, the Independent Broadcasting Authority of the Government of Zambia has suspended an independent local news/media outlet known as Prime TV. Citing a failure to comply with the conditions of its broadcasting license, essentially for covering news issues/stories that the Government didn’t like, effective March 4th 2019, the television station has been shutdown and suspended for a time period of 30 days.

In response to the announcement, human rights organizations around the world, including Amnesty International, said:

“The suspension of Prime TV is a ploy to muzzle independent voices in Zambia and to undermine the right to freedom of expression and media freedom. It is clearly intended to send a chilling message that journalists need to self-censor or face dire consequences. This unlawful suspension must be immediately lifted to allow Prime TV to continue telling the Zambian story as it unfolds. Zambia can only benefit from the plurality of media voices.”

In response to the news, published through the office of the United States Embassy in Zambia, the US Department of State issued a joint statement reading:

No photo description available.

Background

As was also pointed out by Amnesty International on March 4th 2019, media freedom has been under attack in Zambia for years now. For example, in 2016, authorities once sanctioned the closure of the The Post newspaper, one of the country’s longest serving independent newspapers – essentially because its owner/editor, Fred M’embe, had begun reporting on police brutalities and other crimes against humanity at the hands of the Zambian government.