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Shahid Buttar's blog

NSA vs USA

Download the extended dance floor mix from Soundcloud, or open source stems from which to construct a remix for our remix contest through November 7, 2014.

NSA vs. USA was written to be a teaching tool as much as a dance track. Below are annotated lyrics, with hyperlinks to background news articles and reports you can read to learn more. The first step in helping "build a movement, raising your voice" is to learn history and get informed.

The next is to connect. Raise your voice with me, and please don't hesitate to reach out if you need help or ideas on how to get involved!

Many thanks to everyone involved in helping enable this project, the media outlets that have covered it, and -- most of all -- the millions of Americans who, every day, "build a movement, each raising our voice."

Connecting CIA torture to Ferguson, and fighting Dick Cheney

Over the past week, I've had a series of chances to criticize CIA torture and promote executive accountability for human rights abuses. Most exciting to me has been connecting them across contexts to show how police murder in low-income communities finds a parallel in torture by intelligence agencies -- both of which reflect formal legal impunity for grave human rights violations committed by public officials, and at least tacitly faciliated by elected leaders. My second interview below also offered a chance to call for Dick Cheney's long overdue prosecution and prison sentence.

Pulling the plug on police murders in Ferguson and DC

This Thanksgiving, I had a chance to return home and visit my sister's family and my parents in St. Louis. They live in the same county (though not the same town) where I grew up, roughly a 20 minute drive from Ferguson. The two suburbs are part of the same county but seem like different countries altogether.

While in St. Louis, I had a chance to join in several actions organized by local activists. The night I arrived, I joined a march in the Grove, followed two days later by a die-in that shut down the St. Louis Galleria (where I used to watch movies with my high school buddies) on Black Friday, when the movement claimed credit for shrinking holiday retail sales by 11%. 

America tells Congress to #StopSpying

I wrote a letter to Congress exhorting it to enact transformative reforms to stop the NSA dragnet, and recruited nearly 50 organizations from across the political spectrum and every corner of the country to sign it. The Hill quoted it at some length, while noting the remarkable breadth among the signing organizations, before the Washington Post also quoted it at length in the context of criticism to which I responded publicly.

While far more verbose than a Twitter post, the letter more or less captures the sentiment we articulated earlier this year at a light brigade action outside the White House.

Remix NSA vs USA!

Do you dig your rights as much as you like electronic dance music? The indie producers of "NSA vs USA" invite producers to submit remixes for a contest including 4 cash prizes (of $300 for the winner, $100 for the runner up, and two $50 prizes), as well as inclusion on a free digital single, and opportunities for radio play.

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