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Shahid Buttar's blog

NSA vs USA

Check out a series of 9 sick remixes of NSA vs USA, or download the open source stems from which to construct your own. You can also download the extended dance floor mix from Soundcloud.

NSA vs. USA was written to be a teaching tool as much as a dance track. Below are annotated lyrics, with links to 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.

ShantiSalaam (2006-07)

From December 2006 through January 2007, I joined two dear friends (Hawah and V:shal) for a two month voyage across South Asia promoting Hindu-Muslim harmony. At the time, I wrote a series of blog posts recounting our adventures, which I've collected and posted here:

Rhyming about Gitmo, torture, and the New Jim Crow

Today was the 13th anniversary of military detention at Guantanamo Bay. After joining inspiring allies from Witness Against Torture (many of whom fasted for a week and came from all across the US) at a vigil at the White House, we marched to DC Superior Court, where I busted this rhyme about the inversion of criminal justice in America. The guilty remain free and run amok, while innocents are imprisoned en masse.

NSA vs USA remixed!

Nearly 20 music producers from around the world remixed "NSA vs USA," rendering it in versions ranging from hip-hop and house to trap and techno. Stay tuned for a free downloadable single featuring over half a dozen remixes.

The winning remixes received prizes:
 

NYPD slowdown and police body cams

I joined Abby Martin on "Breaking the Set" tonight to talk about how the NYPD slowdown reveals an opportunity for cities to save costs by shrink unnecessarily large police departments, and why police body cameras won't help solve the police violence & accountability crisis, and could instead make mass incarceration even worse. 

Defending the #BlackLivesMatter movement from Washington

My latest writing, Police Violence? Body Cams Are No Solution, appeared on Truthout today. It presents my concerns with proposals for police body cameras, explaining how they could ultimately become a vehicle to extend mass surveillance and entrench mass incarceration without advancing either accountability or even transparency.

As I explain in the article:

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%. 

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