Joshua Eaton

Independent Journalist

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Buddhist Peace Fellowship Protests Urban Shield, Police Militarization in Oakland

Lifelong Oakland resident Maurice Johnson was leaving Starbucks on Sunday, Aug. 31 when he heard drumming and the sound of Japanese monks chanting the first line of the Lotus Sutra. Johnson then saw nine members of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship (BPF), all in meditation posture, risking arrest by blocking the Oakland Marriott City Center’s main entrance. A banner at their feet read “Evict Urban Shield.” On the other side the hotel’s front driveway, about 25 other BPF members meditated silently with signs that called for an end to police militarization.

The protest’s Buddhist packaging surprised Johnson at first, but he understood its message instantly.

Read the rest of this article at Shambhala Sun …

Monks in Ferguson: Six Tibetan Monks Join Demonstrators to Support Justice for Mike Brown

Tensions continued to escalate in Ferguson, Missouri over the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager shot and killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, on August 9. His death set off days of protests and a heavy-handed, militarized police response that has sparked national outrage.

But Ferguson residents got a pleasant surprise on Sunday: A visit from a group of Tibetan Buddhist monks.

Read the rest of this article at Tricycle …

New Light on Black Sites: Foreign Courts Crack Down on US-Led Human Rights Abuses

“We tortured some folks.”

President Obama’s words were all the more chilling for their casualness. He was speaking to reporters on Aug. 1 about a Central Intelligence Agency program that disappeared terrorism suspects into secret CIA prisons abroad for “enhanced interrogation.” That program was just one aspect of the post-9/11 global war on terror, an ongoing conflict that also includes the mass surveillance programs revealed by Edward Snowden over the last year. Both government initiatives share a common thread: They offshore massive human rights abuses.

Read the rest of this article at The Boston Globe …

Challenging the Surveillance State: Why a Small LA Church is Suing the NSA

When Eric Isaacson heard that the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) planned to sue the National Security Agency on behalf of a coalition of nonprofits and advocacy organizations over the agency’s mass collection of Americans’ telephone data, he thought of the perfect plaintiff.

“Just at the mention of organizations that would oppose surveillance, it jumped into my mind that First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles has a long history of being subject to government surveillance and harassment, and that it would be absolutely ideal,” said Isaacson, a lawyer and a member of First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego who has written many amicus curiae briefs for UU organizations supporting marriage equality.

Read the rest of this article at UU World …

Looking Back in Anger: One Year of Snowden’s Leaks

One year ago, Russia granted Edward Snowden temporary asylum after a 39-day stay for the NSA whistleblower in the transit zone at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. Snowden had become stranded there while trying to flee to Latin America, where several countries had offered permanent asylum after the U.S. government filed charges against him for making off with thousands of classified documents about its surveillance programs.

Since then, the Snowden story has unfolded in dramatic ways for a nonstop 12 months — as the world reacted to the vast amount of information that his files contained — sparking revelation after revelation about some of the nation’s most cherished secrets. It has also sparked a fierce policy debate over how to make intelligence organizations more accountable.

Read the rest of this article at Al Jazeera America …

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